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"The Birth of Power" 

HIS colorful mural from the masterly 

A brush of Willy Pogany greets the thou- 
sands who annually visit the- Schoellkdpf 
Station of The Niagara Falls Power 

This allegorical painting tells in vivid 
and powerful tone, but with eerie light- 
ness, the romantic birth story of human- 
ity's modern servant — electrical power. 

Torrents of energy tumble into the 
eddying pool of human waves from which 
emerge the two poles imparting the spark 
of life to the giant genie — Power. 

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[in two volumes] 





M.A., M.S., LL.D. 









For the co-operation of members of the Schoellkopf 
organization in the preparation of this record, as- 
surances of appreciation are extended. 

Acknowledgments are also made for the assist- 
ance received from associates in this adventure, who 
contributed in so many ways to make the record 
accurate as well as complete, thirty years after 
achievements had crowned our undertaking. 

The Author 







Paul A. Schoellkopf 
President, Buffalo, Niagara and Eastern Power Corporation 
President, The Niagara Falls Power Company 


FEW developments have exerted so marked an influence in industry and 
commerce, and have made so great an impression in the art of generating 
and transmitting electricity, as those of The Niagara Falls Power Company. 

The history of that company is related in these volumes by one who for 
thirty-eight years has given freely of his ability, time and influence towards the 
consummation of the enterprise. And how greatly has it expanded and what 
vast proportions has it attained! 

When started thirty years ago, The Niagara Falls Power Company was 
the greatest hydro-electric enterprise in the world, with water turbines larger 
than any at that time in existence. Today, having kept step with the marvelous 
development of the art, it still retains that distinction as its latest water 
turbines are not only the largest but also the most efficient now in use. 

The author of these volumes was for twenty years the president of The 
Cataract Construction Company which erected the original power stations at 
Niagara Falls and gave financial stability to the then Niagara Falls Power 
Company. He was intimately associated with every step in the development 
and personally sought out and interested the eminent international engineers 
whose counsel and advice were so helpful in the pioneer work. Well might he 
say with Virgil, "All of these things I saw, and a great part of them, I was." 

It is pleasant to note in this connection that for his work at Niagara Falls, 
Mr. Adams was awarded the John Fritz Medal, the highest honor at the 
bestowal of the four senior national engineering societies of this country. 

His was the directive force which brought the great project at Niagara 
Falls into fruition. No other man is more completely informed on its gradual 
and at times discouraging evolution, and it was in accordance with the ex- 
pressed wish of his fellow directors that he undertook and completed the 
record contained in these pages. 

For this, as for a vast amount of other voluntary services, Mr. Adams 
deserves the thanks of his fellow directors as well as of the electrical industry 
which has always manifested a lively interest in The Niagara Falls Power 
Company. As the president of that company I am conscious that I voice the 



sentiment of my fellow directors and stockholders in this expression of grate- 
ful appreciation for all that Mr. Edward Dean Adams has done. He brought 
to his work broad culture and vast efforts. As a man his acquaintance and 
friendship are greatly treasured and highly prized. 

The Niagara Falls Power Company 


"Books must follow sciences 

and not sciences books" 

Sir Francis Bacon, 1625 



THIS history of The Niagara Falls Power Company is the story of the 
development of the pioneer hydro-electric system, forerunner of modern 
utility power service. It records the great step in the transition from the 
century of mechanical power to the century of electrical power. 

The event of the nineteenth century was the great adventure of the world 
in power, in manufactured power, from coal by the engine of Watt, or from 
the flow of falling rivers; mechanical power to replace muscular power; to 
pull trains and to drive machinery; to do miracles in industry by vast multi- 
plication of the power the worker controls and thus to create a new epoch in 
human history. In the wake of power came industrial revolution, economic 
revolution, social revolution, and a readjustment of the philosophy and prac- 
tises of life as the easier way of doing more created a new freedom from the 
immemorial bondage of toil. 

Then came a great event in power production. It was at Niagara. Niagara 
— what other word conveys the same awe and sense of power! It was pro- 
posed to conserve the vast and wasting power of Niagara on a scale un- 

But how? Did the water-wheels of centuries, or the water-powers of in- 
dustrial New England or Switzerland point the way? Hydraulic experience 
and prevalent practise — mills driven by water-wheels — were inadequate for 
the new magnitudes and new conditions. 

Could power be transmitted in large amount and over long distances, and 

In 1890 the world experts studying the Niagara power problem advocated 
transmission by wire rope, by water pressure, by compressed air, by electricity. 
Electricity seemed immature. Edison and Kelvin recommending, said, "elec- 
tricity, direct current." Westinghouse planning, said, "alternating current, 
but not now." 

Electric systems were of many kinds; incandescent lighting near the source 
used direct current; more remote, alternating. Each small group of arc lamps 



required a separate dynamo. Street cars used a different current. Motor 
service was trivial, supplied usually from lighting circuits. A world-wide 
search found little use of electricity except for local lighting. Here and there 
longer distance lighting or motor operation was found, but the methods were 
unsuited to a comprehensive system. A dynamo of one or two hundred horse- 
power was respected ; very few were larger. Water-wheels of 500 horse-power 
were few and larger ones rare. But all of these were inadequate. A projected 
demonstration of a hundred horse-power or more, to be transmitted a hundred 
miles, inspired hope. 

Then a gigantic thing happened. At Niagara a new method in power was 
evolved. The biggest power production enterprise in history was undertaken. 
The old-time driving of a mill by its water-wheel was discarded for concen- 
trated production of power, of power sufficient for a hundred mills and more, 
although it was still undecided whether it would be transmitted by compressed 
air or by electricity. 

Large power ideas and electrical development happily advanced together 
and out of the chaos of electrical practises and ideas of 1890 speedily came a 
great plan, a great step, the great step in the transition from the old to the 
new. It was the unprecedented production of power at one central station ; 
it was the adoption of electricity in a power (not lighting) project, jumping 
from machines of a few hundred horse-power to units of 5000 horse-power in 
a 200,000 horse-power project. 

Against the counsel of world-famed experts, polyphase alternating cur- 
rents were adopted. Heterogeneous "systems" and circuits were replaced by 
one comprehensive system for universal service. 

Many elements were brought together — the Great Falls of Niagara, long 
a barrier to transportation and contributing little to useful achievement; 
mechanical power and industry, increasing through a century; turbines, 
evolved from primitive water-wheels; electricity, rapidly maturing; electro- 
chemical processes, newly discovered. By scientific study and engineering 
planning and sturdy financial management, all these separate acts in the 
drama of hydro-electric power suddenly merged in one great climax, the 
pioneer modern power system. 



And without halt or falter this pioneer plan has been followed in hydro- 
electric practise and in steam-power development as well. The power systems 
of the world today and the superpower systems planning for the future 
employ large central stations and polyphase alternating current. 

At Niagara the great step was taken in the transition from the epoch- 
making century of local mechanical power to the new era of universal elec- 
trical power, assuring to the twentieth century an advance over the nineteenth 
comparable to that which the steam engine gave the nineteenth century over 
the preceding centuries. 

Niagara contributes both energy and materials ; she sends streams of silent 
j)ower over radiating circuits to a million users; she supplies new materials 
from the electric furnace to serve the world. 

But beyond the marvel in magnitude and methods and results reckoned in 
kilowatts and dollars are new achievements to be measured in human values. 

Electric power becomes the universal servant to do the work of the world 
and to illumine its darkness, contributing to health and wealth and comfort — 
to the progress of civilization. 

The story of Niagara power in the early nineties is the story of a persistent 
quest for an adequate way to use its waters, and of a momentous triumph in 
the age-long conquest over nature, for the Niagara adventure has shown how 
to make power of greater service by multiplying the fruits of toil and creating 
a new freedom for the development of the intellectual, the aesthetic and the 
spiritual life of mankind. 

And the man whose genius planned this marvelous quest and whose patient 
and skillful co-ordination of mind and men and money achieved this miracle of 
success was Edward Dean Adams. 



I. CONSOLIDATION (a war measure) 

IN November, 1917, the Secretary of War addressed the Hydraulic Power 
Company of Niagara Falls and The Niagara Falls Power Company, as 
follows : 

The President of the United States, by virtue of and pursuant to the authority 
vested in him, and by reason of exigencies of the national security and defense, hereby 
places an order with you and hereby requisitions the total quantity and output of electric 
power which is capable of being produced and delivered by you. 

You are directed to make immediate and continuous delivery of such power, in 
accordance with the schedules hereto attached, until further notice. 

This order shall be given precedence over any and all orders and contracts hereto- 
fore placed with you. 

To facilitate these plans, the War Department requested the two companies 
to consolidate. A joint agreement of consolidation executed September 20, 
1918, was approved the following month by the Public Service Commission 
of New York State. The new company assumed the outstanding bonds and 
other obligations of the constituent companies and by exchange of shares the 

Hydraulic Power Company of Niagara Falls (Canal Project of 1853) 
and The Niagara Falls Power Company (Tunnel Project of 1886 ) 
consolidated as The Niagara Falls Power Company, mcmxviii 


In view of the historical developments by The Niagara Falls Power Com- 
pany, its retiring directors felt that there should be a suitable record of its 
epoch-making achievements. At their final meeting on September 20, 1918, 
the president stated that Edward Dean Adams, because of his great senti- 
ment for and long association with the enterprise, could probably be persuaded 
to undertake the task and upon motion by Francis Lynde Stetson and 
Ogden Mills it was 

Resolved: That the thanks of the board be extended to Mr. Adams for consentin"- 
to prepare the history, which he is specially competent to prepare and which will be so 
greatly appreciated by the board ; and that the president be and hereby is authorized 
to have the same printed and a copy thereof sent to each stockholder. 



Volume One 


Volume Two 


Volume One 


Chapter I Page 
Early History of Niagara 3 

Chapter II 

Pioneers in Power Development at Niagara Falls 39 

Chapter III 

The "Mile Strip" and the Portage Lease, 1803-1805 51 

Chapter IV 

The Hydraulic Canal, 1847-1918 67 

Chapter V 

Projects That Failed to Materialize 87 

Chapter VI 

State Reservation at Niagara, 1869, 1879-1885 99 


Chapter VII 

The Evershed Scheme. Niagara River Hydraulic Tunnel, Power and Sewer 

Company, 1886 113 

Chapter VIII 

The Evershed Tunnel Project, Investigation and Modification, 1889-1890 . 139 
Chapter IX 

Evolution of the Central Power Station Plan, 1890 161 

Chapter X 

The International Niagara Commission, 1890-1891 179 


Chapter XI 

Hydraulic Rights and Federal Restrictions 195 

1 New York State Laws, 1857-1918 199 

2 United States Congress, 1906-1913 205 

3 War Requirements, 1913—1918; Federal Water-power Commission 

License, 1921-1925 217 

4 Dominion of Canada, 1892-1925 228 

Chapter XII 

The Cataract Construction Company ; Organization, Operation, Liquidation 

and Dissolution, 1889-1909 231 


Chapter XIII Page 
Engineering Organization; The Cataract Construction Company, 1890- 

1900 ; The Niagara Falls Power Company, 1900-1918 267 

Chapter XIV 

Finances, 1890-1918. The Cataract Construction Company, 1890-1900; 
The Niagara Falls Power Company, 1900-1918, 1924; Buffalo, Niagara 
and Eastern Power Corporation, 1925 289 

Chapter XV 

The Landed Estate of The Niagara Falls Power Company and Its Filial 
Companies, Niagara Development Company, Niagara Junction Railway 
Company 317 

Chapter XVI 

Associated Companies for the Generation, Transmission and Distribution of 

Niagara Power, 1890-1926 333 


A A Tribute to Dr. Coleman Sellers by Lewis B. Still well . . . ■ . . 361 

B Erosiox and Recession of Niagara Falls 367 

C Invitations to Capitalists 373 

1825, by Augustus Porter and P. B. Porter 375 

1847, by Augustus Porter 377 

1877, by J. F. Schoellkopf and Associates 378 

D Circulars to Stockholders of The Cataract Construction Company 381 
1892, Number 16, Capital for Development and Junction Railway Com- 
panies, The Niagara Falls Power Company 383 

1903, Number 65, Purchase of Bond Scrip and Shares of Development and 

Railway Companies at Par in Shares of Power Company at Par . . . 387 

1918, Number 84, Part of Annual Report for the Year, Indicating Co- 
operation with the U. S. War Department, Increase of Production and 
Financial Operations 389 

E International Niagara Commission 393 

Letter of Invitation, London, June 25, 1890 395 

Report of Secretary 401 

Part I — Introduction and Summary of Projects 403 

Part II — Detailed Abstract of the Projects 413 

Part III — Awards of Prizes and Premiums 443 

F When Niagara Ran Dry 447 

G Resolutions of the Buffalo General Electric Company in Memory of 

Charles R. Huntley 453 




Aeroplane View of Niagara River Above and Below the American and Canadian 

Falls Frontispiece 

Paul A. Schoellkopf vi 

Jacques Cartier, 1491-1557 5 

Samuel de Champlain, 1567-1635 5 

Title-page of Xouvelle Decouverte d'un tres grand Pays, by R. P. Louis 

Hennepin, 1697 6 

Niagara Falls in 1678, as Seen and Represented by Father Hennepin. Print 

Dated 1697 7 

Niagara Falls in 17-10 (Published by Popple) 8 

Niagara Falls, Early French Print, Date Uncertain 10 

Niagara Falls, Published in 1751, Based upon Kalm's Description and Maps of 

Popple and French Prints 11 

Robert Cavelier de la Salle, 1643-1687 13 

Brigadier-General Ely Samuel Parker, U. S. Army, 1828-1895 13 

International Boundary Line of 1819 (Map) 15 

The Straits of Niagara, from the Block Map of United States Geological Survey 22 

Section Showing Stratification of Rocks at the Brink of the Falls and at Middle 
of Horseshoe Fall Described by Professor Gilbert as N. L., Niagara Lime- 
stone; C. L., Clinton Limestone; Q. S., Quartzose Sandstone 23 

Survey of Horseshoe Fall, 1891, by John Bogart, New York State Engineer . . 24 

Length of Crestline of Horseshoe Fall Showing Recession. From Harper's Suicide 

of the Falls 25 

The Horseshoe Fall. From a Drawing by Capt. Basil Hall, of the British Navy, 

Made in 1827 26 

Scale Model of Niagara Falls Planned by John Lyell Harper for Experiments in 

Remedial Works and Stream Control 27 

Aeroplane View of Niagara Falls, Showing Power-houses of The Niagara Falls 

Power Company and Port Day Entrance of Hydraulic Canal 28 

Aeroplane View of the Horseshoe Fall, by Major H. K. Maxwell 29 

Areas of Lake Surfaces and Drainage Basins Above Niagara River. Map from 

United States Geological Survey, 1921 33-34 

Profile of Great Lakes to Sea Level. Map from United States Geological Survey, 

1921 35-36 

Sectional View of Wheel-pit and Original Tail-race Tunnel Showing Stratification 

of the Rocks Through Which the Tunnel Was Built 37 

Sectional View of the Stratification at the Wheel-pit, Portal of Tunnel, and at the 

Brink of the Falls 37 




Map of Historic Niagara, Made for Peter A. Porter, 1891 40 

Map of Niagara Falls and Vicinity in 1805 42 

Niagara Falls Village, New York, and Proposed City of the Falls, Ontario, Dated 

1836 43 

Deed from the State of New York to Augustus Porter and Benjamin Barton, on 

June 27, 1814 44 

Niagara Falls Village, Showing Proposed Hydraulic Canal, Submitted by P. Emslie, 

December, 1846 46 

From a Map of the Villages of Niagara Falls and Niagara City, Dated 1856 . . 48 

Augustus Porter, 1769-1849 49 

Niagara River and Vicinity ; Reproduced by Permission from the Map Issued 

by the United States Geological Survey, in 1921 53-55 

Map of the "Mile Strip" ; the Lands Along the Niagara River Reserved to the State 

Out of the Cession to Massachusetts in 1786 59-61 

Peter Buell Porter, 1775-1844 65 

Congressional Medal of Peter Buell Porter 66 

Certificate for One Share of the Capital Stock of the Niagara Falls Hydraulic 

Company, Dated October 17, 1854 68 

First Waters from the Hydraulic Canal Falling over the "High Bank," Unutilized, 

1857 70 

First Utilization of the Hydraulic Canal Falling over the "High Bank" by the 

Gaskill Flouring Mill, Using Only 25 Feet of the 210 Feet Available, 1875 71 

Manufactories of the Lower Milling District on the "High Bank" Served by the 

Hydraulic Canal, No Wheel Using the Full. Head, 1893 " . . 72 

The Great Schoellkopf Electrical Power-plant at the Foot of the "High Bank" of 
The Niagara Falls Power Company Sending Power to Hundreds of Thousands 
of Users, 1926 73 

Jacob Frederick Schoellkopf, 1819-1899 83 

Three Generations of the Schoellkopf Family 86 

State Reservation at Niagara. Map from Dow's Anthropology and Bibliography 

of Niagara Falls 106 

Hypericum Kalmianum and Lobelia Kalmii. Flowers Discovered Growing at 

Niagara 107 

The Evershed Scheme Indicating Elevation of the Tunnel and Plan of the Canals. 
Two Views : Vertical Section Showing Several of the Wheel-pits and Map 
Indicating Location and Scope of Evershed Plan 114 

Francis R. Delano, Frank A. Dudley, Henry Durk, W. Caryl Ely, Thomas 

Evershed 122 



Benjamin Flagler, James Fraser Gluck, Gen. Daniel W. Flagler, Myron H. 

Kinsley, Lauren W. Pettebone 123 

Alexander J. Porter, Peter A. Porter, Michael Ryan, Henry S. Ware, Thomas V. 

Welch 124 

Charles B. Gaskill, 1841-1919 136 

State Reservation at Niagara. Map from Dow's Anthropology and Bibliography 

of Niagara Falls 142 

Thomas A. Edison at Work in His Laboratory 145 

Dr. Henry Morton, 1836-1902 148 

Frank Julian Sprague 150 

Prof. Henry Augustus Rowland, 1848-1901 152 

Marcel Deprez Explaining in 1883 His System of Electrical Transmission . . . 168 

Author of Niagara Power, Sole Surviving Pioneer Director of The Cataract Con- 
struction Company in Niagara Room, Brown's Hotel, London, August, 1926 177 

Tablet on Inside of Entrance Door of Niagara Room, Brown's Hotel, London . . 178 

The International Niagara Commission, 1890-1891 180 

E. Mascart, 1837-1908 191 

Andre Hillairet, 1857-1926 .192 

Map of Niagara Falls and Village by P. Emslie, 1846 232 

Main Tunnel Intersection by Wheel-pit Discharge Tunnel, Both of Same Size and 

Form 246 

Portraits of Pioneer Directors and Officers, Successor Directors and Officers of 
The Cataract Construction Company and The Niagara Falls Power Com- 
pany, Canadian Pioneer Director and President 250-265 

Granite Voussoir Stones for the Tunnel Intersections 266 

John Bogart 270 

Albert H. Porter 271 

La Partie Carree (The Cataract Construction Company) 273 

George B. Burbank 277 

Map and Profile Showing Method of Establishing Center Line and Grade of Tunnel 279 

Sketch of the Alignment Tower Erected Near the New York Central Railroad 

Station at Niagara Falls 280 

William A. Brackenridge 282 

Philip P. Barton 284 

Lorin E. Imlay 285 

xx i 



Alexander D. Robb 286 

Charles C. Egbert 287 

Location of Inlet-canal and Power-houses 304 

Stock Certificate of The Niagara Falls Power Company, mcmxvhi 310 

Initials on Stock Certificate 315 

Property Holdings of The Niagara Falls Power Company and Its Filial Com- 
panies Before the Consolidation of 1918 319-321 

Street in Echota, 1894 329 

Map Showing Main Track and Sidings in 1890 of the Niagara Junction Railway 331 

Charles R. Huntley, 1853-1920 334 

Daniel O'Day, 1844-1906 341 

George Urban, Jr 342 

Population in Thousands, City of Buffalo 347 

Assessed Valuation in Millions of Dollars, City of Buffalo 348 

The Charles R. Huntley Station, Exterior 349 

The "Electric Building" at Buffalo 351 

Territory Served b}' Buffalo, Niagara and Eastern Power System 354 

Interior of the Charles R. Huntley Station (Looking South) Showing Panels for 

Location of Memorial Tablet 356 

Terminal House Number One and Station "D," Buffalo, Niagara and Eastern 

Power Corporation 357 

Coleman Sellers, D.Sc, E.D., 1827-1907 362 




Chapter I 

Seneca Names 


Great Falls 
and their vicinity 


High Falls 
( Date-gar-sko-sase) 




THE falls of the Niagara River have, from the time of their discovery, 
been recognized as one of the most impressive natural features of the 
world. For more than three centuries, visitors have come to them from every 
land, and left their tributes of admiration. 

The first historical report of the existence of the Great Lakes, which pour 
their waters down the falls of Niagara, was very briefly made in 1545 ty 
Jacques Cartier, the French explorer, in his account of his 
voyage of ten years before, when he ascended the river 
St. Lawrence to the site of Montreal. He credits the 
Indians for information given him of the existence 
of vast lakes, but does not mention the waterfall be- 
tween two of them. 

The earliest reference to Niagara Falls in all liter- 
ature is found in that of France under date of 1604, 
when Samuel de Champlain recorded in Des Sauv- 
ages what the Indians on the St. Lawrence River 
had told him about this waterfall, which, however, it 
appears that he had not then seen. 

In describing a later voyage (1610), Champlain 
tells of having given a young 
Frenchman, Etienne Brule, to the Algonquin Chief, 
Iroquet, who showed his appreciation of Champlain's 
confidence by the gift of a young savage named 
Savignon, as a pledge of future friendship. By 
reason of his acquaintance with many tribes, of his 
occupation and his travels, there is no one who is 
more likely to be entitled to the distinction of having 
been the first of the white man's race to behold Ni- 
agara than this Etienne Brule. 

Champlain and Brule are thus two names of sur- 
passing interest in the history of Niagara. The first 
unquestionably heads the long list of authors who 

have written about the great waterfall, while the other was possibly the first 
of the many millions of palefaces who have visited it. 

1 Lamb's Biographical Dictionary of the United States, Boston, 1900. 

Jacques Cartier 1 

Samuel de Cham plain 1 



The missionaries from the Catholic Church in France, with headquarters 
in Quebec, established a mission to the Huron Indians. Their report in the 
Jesuit Relation, published in 1649, mentions Lake Erie, which "discharges 
itself in Lake Ontario over a cataract of fearful height." Dr. Gendron, Father 
Ragueneau and Father Bressani were all members of the Huron Mission 
between 1643 and 1652. In 1644 or 1645, Dr. Gendron used the words just 
quoted in a private letter to a friend in France, but it was not published until 
1660. Father Ragueneau used the same words in the Jesuit Relation, pub- 
lished in 1649, and Father Bressani 
also used them in the Relation pub- 
lished in 1653. 

The next name to become associated 
with Niagara is that of Robert Cave- 
lier de La Salle, who explored the river 
and visited the falls in 1669, and, ten 
years later, built and owned the Griffon, 
the first commercial vessel of the upper 
lakes, thus becoming the father of their 

For the earliest description of the 
falls we turn to the following report of 
Father R. P. Louis Hennepin, written 
upon his visit in 1679 and published 
in Utrecht in French in 1697, and in 
London in English in 1698: 

A description of the fall of the river 
Niagara, which is to be seen betwixt the 
Lake Ontario and that of Erie. 

Betwixt the Lakes Ontario and Erie, 
there is a vast and prodigious Cadence of 
Water which falls down after a surprising 
and astonishing manner, in so much that the 
Universe does not afford its Parallel. 'Tis 
true, Italy and Suedeland boast of some such things ; but we may well say that they are 
but sorry Patterns, when compared to this of which we now speak. 

To Hennepin we are indebted also for the first picture of the cataract, in the 
same publication, and reproduced in this chapter. 





P A Y S 

Sit dans rAmerique, 


Le Nowveau Q^lfCexique , 

E T 

La Mer Glaciale, 

Ave< les Cartes, & les Figures neceflai res , Sc de pluf 
l'Hlftoire Namrellc & Morale , 8c les avantages, 
qu'on enpeut river par l'<ftabliflementdes Colonies. 

Sa Adajeft'e Britannique. 



Mifflonaire Recoiled CST* Nctaire Apojlvlique. 


Marchand Libraire. MDCXCVU. 

Niagara Falls Prior to the Horseshoe 

Niagara Falls in 1678 

as seen and represented by 
Father Hennepin 

Print dated 1697 

(From. "Nouvelle Decouverte 
d'un tres grand Pays" by 
R. P. Louis Hennepin, 1697, 
a copy owned by the author, 
the title-page of which is 
shown on the facing page) 

Niagara Falls in 1740 

of the series of maps of the British Empire 

Published by Popple 
Referred to by Kalm the Swedish botanist 
who visited the falls in 1750 


Niagara Falls 

Early French Print 

Date Uncertain 

Niagara Falls 

published in 1751 
based upon Kalm's description 
and maps of Popple and French prints 

Compare fallen pines at left and three 
pines on Goat Island 



The relative position of the falls was correctly indicated on the maps of 
1612 and 1632, printed upon the authority of the French explorer, Champlain, 

but no record of their name is found until 
1656, when they appear on Sansom's map as 
"Ongiara." Hennepin's map of 1683 first gave 
them their present name "Niagara," while a 
map of 1692, published 
in Willard's history of 
the United States, 
shows them with the 
title "Jagara." 

Brigadier - General 
Ely S.Parker, in 1892, 
stated with regard to 

Robert Cavelier de La Salle the WOl'd 


Niagara : 

The name was origi- 
nally applied to the whole 
river from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, but as the old French 
fort at its mouth became of importance at an early date, the 
name was, and is still, applied to that locality, though the 
river has never lost its designation. 

The High Falls are known as "Date-gar-sko-sase" and the 
Great Falls and their vicinity as "Gar-sko-so-war-neh." 

Ely Samuel Parker 1 
U. S. Army 

The pronunciation of the word Niagara was modified from Near-gar' to 
Ni-a-ga'-ra when introduced by the early French explorers, in accordance 
with the usual accentuation in the Latin tongues ; and the further modification 
to Ni-ag'-a-ra naturally followed and still persists in English-speaking 

1 Ely Samuel Parker,soldier,a full-blooded Seneca 
Indian, Chief of the Wolf and Seneca tribes and 
the last Grand Sachem of the Iroquois, who held 
the honored office of "Do-ne-ho-ga-wa" (Keeper of 
the Western Door) was born in the Indian Reser- 
vation at Tonawanda, New York, in 1828. His Indian 
name was Ha-sa-no-an-da. He was successor and 
"grandson" 2 of "Red Jacket" as Chief of the Con- 
federacy of the Six Nations: the Mohawk, Cayuga, 
Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, and Tuscarora. He died 
at Fairfield, Connecticut, August 30, 1895. He 
was educated at public school and took an engineer- 
ing course at Rensselaer Institute, Troy, New 
York, and studied law. 

He served with the United States Engineer 
Corps before Vicksburg, May, 1863, when he was 
commissioned aide-de-camp and military secretary 
on the staff of Lieutenant-General U. S. Grant, 
with rank of Colonel. He was commissioned Briga- 
dier-General of United States Volunteers, April 9, 
1865, "for gallant and meritorious services during 
the campaign, terminating with the surrender of 
the insurgent army, under General R. E. Lee, at 
which he was present." He retired as Brigadier- 
General U. S. Army, March 2, 1867. He served as 
United States Commissioner of Indian affairs, 
1869-1871, and then resumed his profession of civil 
engineer in New York City. 

Buffalo Historical Society, Vol. VIII and Vol. XXIII. 



countries, although various attempts have been made to revert to the histori- 
cally correct and more beautiful pronunciation Ni-a-ga'-ra. 

The directors, officers and engineers of The Niagara Falls Power Company 
were encouraged to use the native pronunciation. It was an interesting 
novelty in speech, but it was not understood, and the would-be students of the 
Seneca tongue tired of explanations and gradually avoided that necessity by 
adopting the customary pronunciation. An English engineer, who used the 
Seneca pronunciation when purchasing his ticket at the office of the Grand 
Central Station in New York, asked for "one ticket to Near-gar'." The 
agent did not appear to notice the request. Again the request was made, 
and the agent replied, "There is no such place on the New York Central 
System. Please move on." The Englishman responded, "I know better. 
I have been there. Well, then, give me a ticket to Ni-ag'-a-ra, as you very 
improperly pronounce it, sir!" 


As a site for the development of water-power, the falls of Niagara stand 
without a rival in all the world. The lover of the sublime in nature might 
choose from among the world's majestic spectacles of moving water a few 
other great cataracts deserving of a place beside Niagara. Central Africa has 
the Victoria Falls of the Zambezi, and South America the great Sete Quedas 
of the Parana, the Iguassu and the beautiful Kaieteur. But these are all remote 
from large centers of civilized life, if not actually in the depths of the jungle, 
and all located in tropical regions which have never been favorable to occupa- 
tion by the white race. Niagara, on the other hand, enjoys the temperate 
climate which has fostered every progressive civilization throughout history. 

As for accessibility, to say that Niagara is not isolated like its rivals of the 
tropics, would be quite inadequate. It occupies a truly strategic position upon 
one of the great trade routes of the continent. The importance of this location 
from the earliest times is well recognized by Peter A. Porter 1 in his Niagara 
an Aboriginal Center of Trade: 

Niagara, in aboriginal days, was then, as it is now, the geographical center of the 
eastern one-third of North America ; it was the center of population among the many 
and widely distributed Indian tribes ; it was the most accessible, the most easily reached 
place from all directions in America. Indian trails led toward it from all points of the 
compass ; it was easily accessible by water from every quarter. 

This important position has never been lost ; it has, indeed, been strength- 
ened by the growth of cities and the building of roads and railroads. The 

1 Deceased, December, 1925. 


International Boundary Line 

is indicated by the heavy line passing mid- 
stream over the fall, midway between the toe 
of the horseshoe and Iris or Goat Island, and 
shown on the "true map" prepared by the 
commissioners in 1819 who fixed the line 
■finally and conclusively" above and below 
Niagara Falls. 


footprints of the white man, like those of the red, have converged more and 
more toward Niagara. 


In another fundamental respect Niagara is favored over other great cata- 
racts mentioned. The reservoir capacity of all these latter streams is meager, 
resulting in such variations of flow from season to season that the continuous 
power available for practical development is thereby greatly reduced. 

These conditions contrast sharply with those at Niagara, where four great 
lakes, or inland seas, unite to form a series of reservoirs having the stupendous 
capacity that may be expressed as several thousand cubic miles, but cannot be 
even approximately estimated because the work of determining the depths of 
the larger lakes has not yet been completed, and the few scattered soundings 
in the deeper portions show that the bottoms are extremely irregular. Lake 
Superior alone is the largest body of fresh water in the world. If this vast 
reserve of water could be gradually exhausted by drainage, it would be suffi- 
cient, without additional rainfall, to continue the present flow of Niagara for 
one hundred years. These reservoir lakes, or seas, cover an area of 87,620 
square miles, and, with their connecting rivers, have a shore line of about 
8300 miles. 

Notwithstanding the enormous storage capacity of these inland seas, their 
value for power purposes is dependent upon their overflow and this is based 
upon the rainfall upon their surfaces and the run-off from the drainage basin 
of the Niagara River, that comprises an area of about 250,000 square miles, 
equivalent to the combined areas of states of New York, New Jersey, Penn- 
sylvania, Ohio, Indiana and about one-quarter of Illinois. About 35 per cent 
of the water that falls as rain upon this great expanse of territory passes over 
the falls of Niagara. Uniformity in the rate of flow is assured by the great area 
of the lakes which serve as reservoirs — 87,620 square miles. 


The international boundary line at Niagara Falls is invisible, and only 
correctly indicated, even in public documents, when reproduced from the map 
attached to the official example of the Treaty of Ghent, of 1814, between the 
United States and Great Britain, which ended the War of 1812, and is on 
file in the office of the Secretary of State in Washington. 

This map was prepared from an actual survey made by order of the board, 
Peter B. Porter and Anthony Barclay, commissioners, and bears their certifi- 
cate that it is a true map of part of the boundary designated by the sixth 
article of the Treaty of Ghent. 



This survey was made in 1819 and established the boundary line "through 
the middle of Lake Ontario until it strikes the communication by water be- 
tween that lake and Lake Erie, thence along the middle of said communica- 
tion into Lake Erie." By agreement of the commissioners, the line of de- 
marcation in the Niagara River was the center of the deepest channel of 
the river's flow and the map and its signed declaration fixed the international 
boundary line "finally and conclusively." 

In the report and map of recession-lines of the falls prepared in 1896 by 
Joseph W. W. Spencer, under a commission from the Director of the Geo- 
logical Survey of Canada, it is stated that : 

The international boundary line, showing the Greater Falls to be in Canada, has 
been laid down on the map. 

Beside the other scientific results, features bearing on international questions have 
arisen in connection with the effects of the draining of the falls at the international 
boundary, and the lowering of the lakes by power diversions, as also the ownership of 
the water-rights of Niagara Falls. 

Even the establishment of the boundary line at the falls comes to be a geological 
question and not merely one of ordinary surveying. 

Professor Spencer states that "the apex of the falls (Canadian) is now 
(1906) estimated about 400 feet west of the boundary line, thus placing the 
crescent within the Canadian territory." 

The international boundary line is the line of separation shown on the 
certified treaty map. The horseshoe deep water channel may move easterly 
toward Goat Island on the American side, but the international boundary 
line remains as "finally and conclusively" shown on the "true map" of the 
commissioners' survey. 


Prior to 1600, the ownership of the land on each side of the Niagara River, 
including Goat Island and its group of smaller islands at the Great Falls, was 
undoubtedly in the Kaw-quaws, or Neuter' Nation of Indians. The Seneca 
Indians subsequently took possession and claimed the title to these lands by 
conquest from the Neuters, whose tribe they had destroyed. 

The falls of Niagara were successively in the possession of the Indians by 
inheritance, the French by discovery, the English by conquest, the American 
colonists by revolution, and the State of New York by cession, treaty and 
purchase, the last two including the American Falls and part of the Horse- 
shoe Fall. 

France and England each asserted her rights to the locality, France by 
virtue of prior explorations, discovery and occupation, and England by virtue 

1 As named by the early French missionaries, meaning peaceful. 



of the discoveries of her early navigators and of later treaties with the Indians. 
Until 1764, the Indian ownership was recognized by both France and Eng- 
land. French influence prevailed from 1669 to 1759; then the English ac- 
quired the property, which they occupied until the close of the Revolution and 
after, until 1796. The title to the islands remained in the Senecas until they 
ceded it to the State of New York in 1815. 


The record of the successive instrumental surveys that have been made of 
the flow of these waters, to determine its quantity and potential value, from 
1841 to 1924, is of historical interest. 

The earliest calculation of the volume of water and the extent of the motive 
power of Niagara was made in 1841 by the engineers, Zachariah Allen, of 
Providence, Rhode Island, and E. R. Blackwell, of Black Rock, New York. 
From their measurements at Black Rock, near Buffalo, as published, they 
calculated by the formula' established by Eytelwein, the flow of Niagara 
River as 374,000 cubic feet per second. Upon this basis, and taking the height 
of the fall at 160 feet, Allen estimated the "mechanical force or motive power" 
that the waterfall of Niagara is capable of imparting, as 4,533,334 horse- 
power, after allowing one-third part for waste of effective power in the 
practical application of water to water-wheels. The initial power is therefore 
approximately 6,800,000 horse-power. 

The U. S. Army engineers on the survey of the Great Lakes, in 1868 
estimated the total available power of Niagara Falls at about 6,000,000 

From measurements made in 1900, John Bogart, New York State engi- 
neer and surveyor, gave the flow of Niagara as 275,000 cubic feet per second. 

The figure given in 1901 by the United States Geological Survey for the 
average flow is 222,000 cubic feet per second. 

The report of Francis C. Shenehon, principal assistant engineer, United 
States Lake Survey, 1906-1907, includes the following statements regarding 
the Great Lakes and Niagara River: 

The drainage area covers 255,000 square miles, of which 59.4 per cent, or 151,500 
square miles, lies on the American side of the international boundary lines. 

The annual rain and snowfall over this watershed amounts to nearly 31 inches of 
water. The outflow spilling from Lake Erie into the Niagara River corresponds to a 
depth of about 11 inches spread over this great drainage area of more than a quarter 
of a million of square miles. 

At an ordinary or mean level of Lake Erie, the flow of the Niagara River is about 
210,000 cubic feet per second. Were all this water utilized under a head of 202.4 feet 
1 Long since replaced by formulae considered of greater accuracy. 



(which is close to the head secured by The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manu- 
facturing Company), the theoretical mechanical horse-powers would aggregate nearly 
5,000,000 (4,830,000). 

Lieutenant-Colonel C. S. Riche, of the United States Corps of Engineers, 
reported September 30, 1911, that for mean stages of lakes Erie and Ontario, 
1860-1910, Niagara River had a total fall of 326.38 feet and a discharge of 
210,000 cubic feet of water per second, which represents a theoretical energy 
of nearly 8,000,000 horse-power. 

The volume of Niagara waters depends upon the height of Lake Erie at 
Buffalo, and this varies with the direction and intensity of the wind. A pro- 
longed gale on Lake Erie in the direction of its outlet causes the waters to 
become heaped up at that end from 4 to 5 feet and produces a corresponding 
rise of Niagara River. A subsidence of the level of the lake and river to an 
equal extent occurs whenever a gale takes place in an opposite direction. Such 
variations are not uncommon, and have been brought about in the course of 
a few hours. Changes in level of Lake Erie at the source of the Niagara River 
of as much as 8 feet have been noted. On March 29, 1848, the floating ice in 
Lake Erie was driven by the gale to the lake outlet, quickly blocking that 
narrow channel and shutting off a large proportion of the river's flow. The 
American Falls were passable on foot, but for that day only, as is described by 
an eye witness, in Appendix F in this volume. 

A change in elevation of 1 foot in Lake Erie will cause a change in elevation 
in the Chippewa-Grass Island Pool of about .55 foot. 

The seasonal variation in lake level, due to variations in rainfall, has not 
exceeded 2 feet in the last sixty years. 

In his testimony before the commissioners of the state reservation in 1884, 
Peter A. Porter stated that, when the wind is down the lake, it makes 1 
foot difference in the level of the raceway on the rapids above the falls, in- 
creasing the depth to that extent. 

These minor fluctuations of level are trivial in comparison with the seasonal 
changes of volume to which most of the great waterfalls of the world are 






Cubic feet 
per second 



Blackwell and Allen, engineers 
using 160 feet head 




U. S. Army engineers on survey of the Great 

John Bogart, New York State engineer and 





United states ideological survey 



United States Lake Survey ; report of Colonel 
C. S. Riche to chief of engineers 
using full 326 feet head 




United States Lake Survey ; Colonel F. C. Shene- 
hon, principal assistant engineer 4 
At mean level of Lake Erie 
using 202 feet head 




Smithsonian Institute, Study of Natural Re- 
sources. Samuel S. Wyer, associate in 
mineral technology, United States National 

Natural mean flow for sixty-four years 
using full 326 feet head 



1 Seventh annual report of commissioners of New York State Reservation 1889-1890. 

2 United States Geological Survey Map of Niagara River and Vicinity, G. K. Gilbert, May, 1901. 

3 United States Lake Survey, Preservation of Niagara Falls, 1911. House of Representatives Docu- 
ment 246, Sixty-second Congress, Second Session, page 11. 

4 United States Lake Survey, Senate Document 105, Sixty-second Congress, First Session, page 20. An 
exhaustive investigation. 

6 Smithsonian Institute, Study of Natural Resources^ Niagara Falls, January 15, 1925. 

" Horse-power which could be developed. 


Situated on one of the great natural channels of commercial intercourse be- 
tween the East and the West, it was not unreasonable to expect that with the 
improvement of the country, near and remote, the vast water-power would be 



promptly utilized and the population proportionally increased. That this did 
not occur as rapidly as the early settlers had hoped was owing to causes not 
at first appreciated, but now well understood as briefly described here. 

In order to understand some of the physical difficulties that for many dec- 
ades prevented the utilization of the waters of Niagara, attention should be 
given to the unusual natural features of the location. These are indicated by 
the block diagram of Niagara River and accompanying maps and diagrams. 
The block diagram shows : 

The country traversed by the river constitutes two plains, each extending for a con- 
siderable distance east and west beyond the field of the map. The upper plain has a 
gently undulating surface with a general height of 600 feet above sea level. The lower 
plain borders Lake Ontario and is comparatively smooth except where streams have 
washed out narrow valleys ; its southern edge has a height of 380 to 400 feet, and it 
slopes northward to about 260 feet at the lake shore. Where the plains approach each 
other the upper is about 200 feet above the lower and they are separated by a steep 
bluff with a cliff at top. This bluff is called the Niagara escarpment. In some places 
it is divided into two parts, so that the descent from the upper plain to the lower is by 
two steps. 1 

A mile above the falls the river enters upon the great upper rapids, con- 
sidered by many to present a spectacle no less impressive than that of the 
cataract itself. These rapids account for 51 feet of the descent, and the Great 
Falls for 164 feet. 

Below the falls the river runs in the deep gorge which it has carved out of 
the upper plain. For some distance there is a navigable reach of deep water. 
The remaining 5 miles to the Niagara escarpment is almost continuous rapids, 
with the famous Whirlpool as the dominating feature. In its course below 
the falls the river descends 99 feet more to the level of the lower plain, where 
it flows in a broad, deep channel for the remaining 6 miles to Lake Ontario. 
The total descent in the upper and lower rapids and the falls is 314 feet. 

Although the great cataract itself offers the most magnificent display of 
available power, the upper rapids, because of their low banks, lent themselves 
more readily to power development by the more primitive methods in which 
water diverted from the river above the rapids is carried by a canal along the 
river bank for use at comparatively low head to supply wheels driving mills 
or in which wheels placed in the stream are driven by the current. In tracing 
the history of Niagara power we are therefore not surprised to find these 
rapids the scene of the earliest and, in fact, of all the applications of power 
until about 1870, with mills along the main shore, or on the islands. 

1 G. K. Gilbert, 1901. From United States Geological Survey Map of Niagara River and Vicinity. 




Serious difficulties were encountered when it was proposed to develop a 
large amount of power from the cataract itself. Large water-wheels for 
operation at a head of 160 feet or more were not available; even if they had 
been, the cost of hydraulic construction in the Niagara limestone formation 
would be very great; even if the power were developed, the old plan of a "mill 
over a wheel-pit" did not promise success because available land for factories 
in the vicinity of the falls was limited. Furthermore, no large amounts of 
power were used in the vicinity of the falls although there were large power 
users at Buffalo. The cost of power development was so large that only a 
very large project would be finan- 
cially justified. Hence, the high head 
of the cataract was not availed of at 
once, but awaited the call for large 
amounts of power and the develop- 
ment of modern machinery and 
methods. The utilization of the total 
fall in the upper and lower rapids as 
well as the cataract, involving con- 
structions of colossal magnitude, has 
received consideration only very re- 

The scenic beauty of the great cata- 
ract made the situation still more diffi- 
cult for those who wished to put the 
river to practical use. Sooner or later, 
the public was certain to resist any 
methods of utilization of the falls that 
encroached upon their natural gran- 
deur. This consideration will be found 
to have been a very potent factor in 
shaping the course of the develop- 
ment of Niagara power and it is one 
of the supreme triumphs of that de- 
velopment that the utilitarian and aesthetic points of view have been so 
well reconciled. 

In the geological structure 1 of the Niagara region which has made possible 
the falls and the gorge will be found the source of many perplexing problems 

1 See Appendix B for extract from final report of the Fourth Geological District of the State of 
New York, 1843, by James Hall, state geologist, Chapter XX, Niagara Falls, Its Past, Present and 
Prospective Condition, pp. 383-404, with important illustrations. 

mm >(> // 'Mi\ f W ' 1 

Section Showing Stratification of 
Rocks at the Brink of the Falls 
and at Middle of Horseshoe 
Fall Described by Professor 
Gilbert as N. L., Niagara Lime- 
stone ; C. L., Clinton Limestone ; 
Q. S., Quartzose Sandstone 



that have arisen in every stage of Niagara development. The first rock en- 
countered at the cataract is the hard, strong Niagara limestone, extending 
at this point to a depth of 80 feet. Below are soft, weak shales, containing 
only a few ledges of harder material. The history of Niagara shows how 
the development of power has been retarded by this combination of strata. 
We see the pioneer faced with huge expense in his endeavors to excavate 
surface canals and raceways through the hard limestone; while his suc- 
cessors, in order to preserve the hydraulic head obtained above the falls, 
were obliged to construct their discharge tunnel at the level of the lower 
river and pass into a material which could not be depended upon to form 
a safe and durable arch without costly reinforcement. The modern engineer, 
who obtains his hydraulic head on the bluff near the point of its utilization, 
has designed and built a pressure tunnel through the kind of rock best cal- 
culated to produce a permanent structure, with the least capital cost. 


The progress of the recession of the Horseshoe Fall has been ascertained 
by various trigonometrical surveys under official auspices including the 

Survey of Horseshoe Fall 

By John Bogart, New York State Engineer 



following: 1842 by New York State Survey, 1875 by United States Lake 
Survey and 1891 by New York State Survey that is here reproduced. 

The history of the formation of the horseshoe is shown by the following 
map : 

From Harper's Siticide of the Falls 

Length of Crestline of Horseshoe Fall Showing Recession 

1764 . . . 1800 Feet 1875 . . . 2350 Feet 1905 . . . 2850 Feet 

1842 . . . 2030 Feet 1890 . . . 2750 Feet 1915 . . . 3020 Feet 

The recession of the falls is due to this peculiar rock structure which has 
received much attention in recent years, and which has a bearing upon power 
development. This process of disintegration is described by G. K. Gilbert, 
geologist, United States Geological Survey: 

In the principal division of the cataract, called the Horseshoe Fall, the falling water 
plunges into a deep pool, which is kept in fierce agitation. The surging water wears away 
the shale and thus gradually deprives the limestone bed of its support. From time to 
time blocks of the limestone break away, falling into the pool below. Each fall of lime- 
stone makes the position of the cataract retreat upstream and thus lengthens the gorge. 
Between 1842, when a careful map of the cataract was made, and 1891, when the mapping 
was repeated, the cataract retreated and the gorge was lengthened about 200 feet, the 



average rate being between 4 and 5 feet a year. . . . But tbe crestline of the American 
Fall has not changed its form appreciably since the year 1827, when the first accurate 
drawings of it were made. Its recession must be many times slower than that of the 
Horseshoe Fall. 

In its annual report of December 19, 1918, the commissioners of the New 
York State Reservation stated that the recession of the rock rim of the 
Horseshoe Fall is progressing at the rate of about 62 inches per annum. 

An examination of old prints indicates that the present horseshoe formation 
of the Canadian side of the fall must have appeared after the year 1751, not 

From a camera lucida drawing made in 1827 by Captain Basil Hall of the British Navy 

The Horseshoe Fall 

more than 174 years ago, as there are no indications in these views of any such 

The "horseshoe" section of Niagara Falls is the best known feature of that 
scenic wonder. Its changing form excites the study of all visitors. They admire 
the dark green of its deepest current, and regret to read of the recessions that 
are chronicled and that they can visualize. 

An interesting evidence of the recession of the Horseshoe Fall was reported 
by James T. Gardner, 1 in 1879, who placed the survey of F. R. Blackwell in 

1 Director of the New York State Survey of the Preservation of the Scenery around Niagara Falls. 



1842 upon the map of the United States Lake Survey of 1875 and describes 
the comparison as follows : 

The map which accompanies my report shows the unexpected fact that the Horseshoe 
Fall has receded in places 160 feet during thirty-three years, and that a large 
island has disappeared which formerly existed in the midst of the Canadian Rapids. 
These remarkable physical changes are of deep interest, and their progress should 
be watched and recorded with great care. The conclusions to be attained by accurate 
geological study of the region open almost limitless views into far-reaching vistas of 
the continent's physical history. 

From actual observations made during the past ten years it is known, Mr. 
John Lyell Harper states, in his The Suicide of the Horseshoe Fall, 1918, 
that the crest is receding at the point of greatest erosion, at the rate of approxi- 
mately 8 feet per year, while on the sides and heel almost no recession is noted. 


Scale Model of Niagara Falls Planned by John Lyell Harper for Experiments 
in Remedial Works and Stream Control 

Note crestlines of 1764 and 181-2 




Mr. Harper 1 in an article in Power states : 

The ultimate development of Niagara Falls will have a 300-foot head, when each cubic 
foot of water per second will produce an amount of power capable of lifting a 100-ton 
burden one inch from the tired shoulders of man. 

Engineering thought blazes the trail to the most efficacious use of Niagara's waters. 
This thought now takes form in action, and action removes the doubt that theory cannot 

Photograph by Underwood & Underwood, N. V., taken by Major H. K. Maxwell 

Aeroplane View of the Horseshoe Fall 
Made October 20, 1920, at 700 fret elevation 

solve. Results exceed the vision and now Niagara, more than ever, supplies the material 
wants of man. 

With equal vision, skill and courage must engineering control that part of the waters 
which may be set aside for aesthetic purposes. Engineering must shape its turbulence, 
and so direct its cataract-forming currents that the maximum of grandeur may obtain. 
Engineering has made it possible to convert 90 per cent of the stored energy of Niagara's 
waters into useful forms of electrical power. Engineering can, and will, take but half the 
1 Vice-president and chief engineer of The Niagara Falls Power Company. Deceased, 1924. 



river's flow and raise its aesthetic values to a level with the hydro-electric efficiency now 
obtaining. With half the water, engineering will enhance the natural beauty, and render 
a more sublime spectacle than Nature, uncontrolled, now furnishes with all of the water. 

The annual report of The Niagara Falls Power Company, 1924, states 
concerning the scale model : 

During 1923 and 1924 there was built, under Mr. Harper's direction, a scale model 
of the Niagara River including the upper rapids and the cataracts. Here experiments 
have been conducted in stream control. Remedial works of different types have been 
built upon the model to determine the increase that may be made in the economic utiliza- 
tion of Niagara while assuring the maintenance of its sublime scenery. 

This marked recession is a factor to be reckoned with in the future in the 
location of expensive installations drawing water from the river above the 
falls. If, however, the recession continues at the rate of only about 5 feet per 
annum, the intake of The Niagara Falls Power Company, situated about 
6000 feet above the cataract, would not be disturbed in its present location 
for about 1200 years. 

There is also a very remote danger, geologists inform us, of a possible future 
diversion of water from the great Niagara reservoirs to the Mississippi River. 

"With the present rate of calculated terrestrial uplift in the Niagara district 
(1.25 feet a century) and the rate of recession of the falls continued, or even 
doubled, before the cataract shall have reached the Devonian escarpment at 
Buffalo, that limestone barrier shall have been raised so high as to turn the 
waters of the upper lakes into the Mississippi drainage by way of Chicago. 
An elevation of CO feet at the outlet of Lake Erie would bring the rocky floor 
of the channel as high as the Chicago divide, and an elevation of 70 feet would 
completely divert the drainage. This would require 5000 or 6000 years at the 
estimated rate of terrestrial elevation." 1 

1 The Duration of Niagara Falls. Prof. J. W. W. Spencer, 1895. 







Dr. Charles D. Walcott, secretary, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, 
D. C, recently stated: 

The Niagara River is more than a mere boundary stream between two friendly 
nations. It is the dividing line between two radically different methods of rendering 
electric service to the public ; governmentally owned on the Ontario side, privately owned 
but governmentally regulated on the United States side. 

Two and one-half times more power than is now developed can be developed and still 
maintain an adequate scenic effect. Real preservation can be brought about only by 
frankly facing the engineering and geologic facts now obvious and the development of an 
international preservation program that will insure maximum use with the continued 
preservation of an adequate scenic effect. 


The natural mean flow — average of 64 years — of Niagara River, 

in cubic feet per second 205,000 

Water diversions, in cubic feet per second — 

New Welland Ship Canal for navigation 2,000 
New York State Barge Canal for navigation 1,200 
Chicago Drainage Canal for sewage dilution 8,000 

Diversion for power purposes authorized by present treaty 56,000 

Diversions' 67,200 

Minimum flow over falls for proper scenic effect and ice sluicing 50,000 

Appropriations" 117,200 

Additional 2 water that could now be harnessed 87,800 

This water could develop about 2,500,000 additional horse-power. This total might be cur- 
tailed for a few days each spring to give the extra water needed to sluice the ice out of the gorge. 

The practical demonstration of the possibilities of protecting the Horseshoe Fall from its 
own destruction, and the increase of power resources without detriment to the scenic features 
of the fall, as recently proposed by John Lyell Harper by his operating out-door model, may be 
seen on page 27. 

1 Niagara Falls: Its Power Possibilities and Preservation, by Samuel S. Wyer, associate in mining 
technology, United States National Museum. 

- Words are not italicized in the original. 




From reports to the United States Government 
and other sources 

The system of the great fresh water lakes or inland seas, which drain through the Straits 
of Niagara and the Saint Lawrence River into the Atlantic Ocean, extends half-way across 
the continent of North America. 

The water surfaces of these great lakes, excluding Lake Ontario, with the land sloping into 
them and contributing to the falls of Niagara, form a drainage basin having a total area equal 
to nearly three times the total area of Great Britain and Ireland, about 50,000 square miles 
more than the total area of France, and more than sixteen times the total area of Switzerland. 

The work of determining the depths of the larger lakes has not yet been completed but the 
few scattered soundings in the deeper portions show that the bottom is extremely irregular. 

The fall of 326 feet between the water levels of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario occurs in the 

vicinity of Niagara Falls and is distributed as follows: 


Lower Niagara River 1 

Five miles of rapids, between Lewiston and Suspension Bridge 94 

Pool between the bridge and the falls 5 

Falls of Niagara 164 

Rapids immediately above the falls 51 

Upper Niagara River 11 

Total fall of Niagara River between lakes Erie and Ontario .... 326 

The Niagara River forms the boundary between Canada and the State of New York. The 
line of this international boundary is that established by commissioners in 1819, as shown 
upon the map attached to the International Treaty of Ghent of 1814 and shown herein 
on page 15. The falls of Niagara are 23 miles below Lake Erie, and 14 miles above Lake 
Ontario. The "Horseshoe Fall" is 163 feet high, and 2600 feet wide. The other channel, 
in the State of New York, forms the 'American Falls," which are 166 feet high at the eastern 
side, and 1000 feet wide, both falls comprising 3600 linear feet of water. 

At the falls the river turns directly at right angle and flows through a gorge, the cliffs of 
which are 1000 to 1200 feet apart, with nearly perpendicular walls rising 210 feet above the 
water. The river below the falls has a maximum known depth of 192 feet, and a width of 
from 800 to 900 feet. 

Two miles above the falls the river has a width of over 7000 feet. The extreme limits of 
variation in the depth of the river above the falls is 3Yo feet, but these limits are very rarely 
reached. The ordinary variation is about 1 foot. Below the falls the extreme of variation 
reaches 15 feet. Generally a variation of 1 foot above the falls is followed by a change of 
level of 5 feet below the falls. These slight changes are of a short duration and are due mainly 
to long continued and violent wind or sudden great accumulations of ice. 

It has been estimated that if the average discharge of all the lakes passed through a river 
1 mile wide, with a mean velocity of 1 mile per hour, such a river should have a depth of 31 
feet from shore to shore. 

The flow of water at the falls of Niagara is, for practical purposes, unlimited, never failing, 
constant and pure. 






Buffalo to Detroit .... 



" " Chicago .... 



" Soult Ste. Marie . 



" " Dulutli .... 



Detroit to Chicago .... 



" " Sault Ste. Marie . 



" " Duluth .... 




and connecting 

Area at 
lake surface 

Total area 
of basin 
in square miles 


31,810 (n) 

80,700 (a) 





23,010 (li) 

72,600 (b) 


400 (c) 

6,420 (c) 


9,940 (d) 

34,680 (d) 



(a) Includes St. Mary's River above St. Mary's Falti. 
(I)) Includes North Channel, Georgian Bay, and St. 

Mary's River below St. Mary's Falls. 
(c) Includes St. Clair River. 
(il) Includes Detroit River. 




Sectional View of Wheel-pit and Original Tail-race Tunnel Showing Stratifi- 
cation of the Rocks Through Which the Tunnel Was Built 

The great cataract is the embodiment of power. 
In every second, unceasingly, seven thousand tons of 
water leap from a cliff one hundred and sixty feet 
high, and the continuous blow they strike makes the 
earth tremble. 

Niagara Falls and Their History 
by G. K. Gilbert 


Chapter II 




HE first use of the power of Niagara River at the falls is believed to have 

A been made about 1757-1758 by a Frenchman, Chabert Joncaire, J r., 1 who 
built a short and narrow loop canal on the river bank a short distance above 
the falls. Power was probably developed by a wooden overshot wheel under 
a head of about 6 feet, to cut logs on what was the end of Mill Street and is 
now known as First Street, on the present state reservation, opposite the 
upper end of Goat Island. 

This sawmill was repaired and used by John Steadman, who, about 1760, 
settled on the bank of the river near the falls on a large tract of land he claimed 
and received under an Indian grant. Steadman also occupied and cleared 
some portion of Goat Island and stocked it with goats, thus giving the island 
its name. He was the British master of the Niagara portage during most of 
the latter half of the eighteenth century. But little was done during this 
period to change the wild aspect of the country. 

In 1795 there first comes into this history the name of the Porter family, 
a name that has been closely linked with Niagara development through all the 
succeeding generations. 

Augustus Porter visited the falls in that year, and again in 1796, on his way 
with a company of surveyors to explore and survey the "Western Reserve," in 
what is now the State of Ohio. It was probably due to the favorable im- 
pressions which he received on those visits, that his family became interested 
in the development of Niagara and acquired important holdings of real estate 
including land near the falls. 

It will be noted later, in further detail, that the Porters not only became 
large land-owners, but became identified with Niagara development in con- 
nection with transportation between the lakes. 

Early in 1805, Augustus Porter built a sawmill and blacksmith's shop, 
preparatory to other improvements. In 1806, he removed his family from 
Canandaigua, New York, to the old Steadman house, near Fort Schlosser. 
The next year he built a grist-mill, the first to be established on the American 
shore at the falls, with two "run of stone," 2 on the site of the original French 
sawmill, using therefor a separate intake that is indicated upon a map of 
Niagara Falls village and river made and published by Joseph Wentworth 
Ingraham, of Boston, in 1836, and shown on page 43. 

1 Described by historian Peter A. Porter, as "Soldier of France, Master of the Niagara Portage and 
Dictator of the French Government's trade witli the West." 

2 Appendix H, Volume II. 



In 1809 he erected a rope-walk and a tannery, and other industries soon 
followed, with dwelling houses. 

These were the beginnings of industrial Niagara. By 1812, it is stated, 
most of the large forest trees north of Bridge Street had been cut down, 
but young trees and undergrowth, particularly near the river, were very thick 
and close, quite down to the falls. 

Map of Niagara Falls and Vicinity in 1805 


It was not until June 27, 1814, that Augustus Porter and his partner, 
Benjamin Barton, finally secured from the commissioners of the land office 
of the State of New York, the patents of two of the lots purchased by them 
in 1805 at the auction sale of the "Mile Strip," particularly described in 
Chapter III. These were lots 42 (19 acres) and 43 (100 acres) at the apex 
of the angle formed by the river at the falls, bordering the upper rapids and 
extending to the very brink of the great cataract. In his field notes the 
Surveyor-General of the state had marked these two lots as "very valuable 
for water-power." 



Niagara Falls Village, New York 
and Proposed City of the Falls, Ontario, Dated 1836 











According to a map from a survey by George Catlin, in 1831, the industries 
then located on the banks of the Niagara River, utilizing the power developed 
by the loop canals, enumerating from the bridge to and over Bath Island to 
Goat Island are as follows: at the right hand side of the bridge across the 
river, Trip Hammer Nail Factory; on the left or easterly side, a paper-mill 
and a grist-mill; at some distance, a second grist-mill followed closely by a 
woolen factory, and, slightly beyond, a sawmill, not far from the residence 
of Judge Porter. 

On November 19, 1816, Augustus Porter made a further notable acquisition 
of Niagara property by securing from the State of New York the patent 1 of 

a certain Island commonly called and known by the name of Goat Island, situate and 
lying in the rapids of the Niagara river immediately above and adjoining the Great 
Ealls, the northwesterly side of which Island terminates with the perpendicular rock of 
precipice forming the Falls, together with several small Islands or masses of rocks 
surrounding and appendant to the said principal island but separated from the same 
by small sheets of water containing in the whole according to a plan and survey of the 
same made by Parkhurst Whitney on the 10th day of October, 1815, and now on file 
in the Secretary's office, about sixty-two acres. 

It is interesting to note that the deeds conveying the ownership of these lands 
and island were executed by 

our trusty and well beloved Daniel D. Tompkins, Esquire, Governor of our said State, 
General and Commander in Chief of all the Militia, and Admiral of the Navy of the 
same, at our City of Albany. 

In both deeds 

the people of the State of New York, by the grace of God Free and Independent, make 
the grant of land excepting and reserving to ourselves all Gold and Silver Mines. 

From a point near the head of the island, Augustus Porter constructed a 
bridge to the mainland. This bridge proved insufficient to resist the strong 
current and heavy masses of ice at that point, and it was partially carried away 
the first winter and spring. Within a year another bridge was constructed 
across the rapids below, on the site of the present bridge, which has proved 
to be a perfectly secure position. For the old bridge of wood a bridge of iron 
was substituted in 1856, and this was replaced in 1900 by a multiple-arch 
bridge of concrete with stone facing. 

In 1822, Augustus Porter erected the large flouring-mill subsequently 
owned by Witmer Brothers, and the next year a paper-mill was built by 
Jesse Symonds, near Goat Island bridge. 

1 A fee of $1.38 for acknowledging and recording this patent is recorded in the memorandum cash hook 
of A. Porter. 


In 1826, the upper raceway or canal was extended, and on the extensions, 
Ira Cook, William G. Tuttle, Capin & Swallow, and others, erected works 
of different kinds. A large paper-mill was built on Bath Island by Porter & 
Clark, which was greatly extended by L. C. Woodruff. 

What has been called the "upper raceway" upon the earlier maps of the 
village of Niagara Falls, is supposed to have been built in 1820, when 

Niagara Falls Village 
Showing Proposed Hydraulic Canal 
Submitted by P. Emslie, December, 1846 

the Porter Brothers erected a grist-mill. This canal did not extend towards 
the falls nearer than the street leading to the Goat Island bridge. Another 
small canal designated as the "lower raceway" was constructed about 184.5 
and it is said that a paper-mill, a woolen factory and a nail-mill were built 
thereon close to Goat Island bridge. Both raceways were in use in 1884 and 
were purchased with all structures thereon by the State in 1885 as a part 
of the New York State Reservation at Niagara Falls. 




A serious interruption to the progress of settlement and improvement at 
Niagara, and in all the surrounding country, was occasioned by the War of 
1812, which subjected the people to great sacrifices and suffering. 

Before 1 the village had recovered from the effects of the war, and while the sur- 
rounding country, suffering from that and other embarrassments, was making very 
slow progress in improvement, at the early period of 1825, the Erie Canal was opened 
to its full extent. 

The immediate effect was to divert all the business of transportation from the old 
channel, and to attract all enterprises and capital seeking employment to the numerous 
villages growing up on the line of the canal. Another injurious effect of the canal on 
this locality, though beneficial to the new villages, was the very large and widely 
extended water-power it afforded, at points where little or none had previously existed, 
at Black Rock, Lockport, and other towns west of Rochester, adding greatly to their 
growth and proportionally lessening ours. 

General Marquis de Lafayette visited Niagara Falls in 1825. In the 
account 2 of this visit, his secretary, M. La Vasseur, wrote respecting Goat 

The surrounding currents of water offer an incalculable moving power for machinery, 
which might be easily applied to all sorts of manufactories. 


In 1825, Augustus Porter and Peter B. Porter issued, as "proprietors of 
the lands which embrace the Rapids and Falls, on the American side of the 
Niagara; also of Iris (Goat), Bath, and the other small islands lying in the 
rapids and connected by bridges with the main shore," an "Invitation to 
Eastern Capitalists and Manufacturers" to develop the power at Niagara 
Falls, offering to become interested in any such company to the extent of 
their means. This appears to have been the first public effort to secure capital 
for the utilization of Niagara power by the location of manufactories and a 
town at the falls. The "Invitation" 3 states that 

the inadequacy of capital in this part of the country to undertakings of this kind, 
added to the doubts which have until very recently existed in regard to the success of 
American manufactures generally, has hitherto prevented the improvements which this 
situation so powerfully invites. 

It appears from the terms of this "Invitation," that the Porters were plan- 
ning to utilize, not the great cataract itself, but only the 60 feet of the upper 
rapids, in the three-fourths of a mile of their descent before the river reaches 
the falls. 

1 Niagara, Past and Present, Albert H. Porter, 1876. 

2 Lafayette en Amerique 1824 et 1825, 2 vols., Paris, 1829. 

3 Appendix C, Volume I. 



The "Invitation" of 1825 does not appear to have been successful in 
securing the co-operation of the necessary capitalists nor did the next two 
decades witness any material progress in the utilization of the power of 

From a Map of the Villages of Niagara Falls and 
Niagara City, Dated 1856 

A Buffalo publication of 1835 refers to a paper-mill, a flouring-mill, and 
a few mechanics' shops as constituting the industrial activity of the village 
of Niagara Falls, while two spacious hotels, the Eagle and the Cataract, 
afforded accommodations for one hundred permanent guests. A map was 
issued in 1846 showing a projected extension of the upper raceway through 


Augustus Porter, 

Pioneer Surveyor, 1789 
Power Pioneer of Niagara, 1806 
First Judge of Niagara County, 1808 


Canal Street, now Riverway, of the New York State Reservation, and down 
the river bank to and beyond the present Pine Street. 

In 1845 the inclined plane at the ferry, with cars operated by water-power, 
was substituted for the old plan of winding stairs to the river. 


During this long period of stagnation, the Porters did not lose faith in 
Niagara. Failing to interest manufacturers in their plan for the utilization of 
the 60-foot fall of the rapids above the great cataract, they gave support to a 
new plan which has resulted in a development far beyond their hopes or vision. 

The new project included the construction of a harbor, with wharf, opposite 
Grass Island, near the end of river navigation, and a canal, not for inter-lake 
transportation, but a "hydraulic canal," or large raceway, that would conduct a 
large volume of water across the point of land enclosed within the right angle 
of the turn of the river, to a "reservoir" or canal basin, to be located on the bluff 
above the river bank about one-half mile below the falls, where power would be 
available from the fall of water from the bank, about 200 feet, to the river below. 

Without doubt, Judge Augustus Porter, who owned the lands through 
which this canal passed, early saw the importance of its construction and for 
several years before his death in 1849, made the most liberal offers to capi- 
talists to engage in the undertaking, as the expense involved exceeded his own 
means. The interesting account of the development and outcome of this 
project is reserved for Chapter IV, entitled "The Hydraulic Canal." 


The Porter Brothers were the power pioneers of Niagara. Their large pur- 
chases of land on the river bank were an evidence of their vision and courage. 
By reason of their activities between the years 1800 and 1850, they were recog- 
nized at that period as the most influential and public-spirited citizens of their 
community. They firmly believed in the future of Niagara as a manu- 
facturing district, and were diligent in making known the water-power poten- 
tialities of Niagara Falls. By maintaining portage transportation 1 around 
the falls from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, and by establishing industries at 
the village, they promoted the settlement and development of that section 
of the country. To assist the formation of power companies, they contributed 
of their lands and water-rights as a means of obtaining capital from sources 
outside of their districts for the development and use of Niagara power. As 
is generally the case with pioneers in great industries, they did not live to see 
the accomplishment of the undertaking in which their fortune, courage and 
enterprise were so fully enlisted. 

1 Described more fully in Chapter III. 




Chapter III 


Reproduced by permission from 
the map issued by the United States Geological Survey 
in 1921 




THE right to use water in power production is so closely related to land 
ownership that the unique history of land titles at Niagara is an im- 
portant factor in the history of Niagara power. 

The purchase from the state of lands on the river-side was made in con- 
fident expectation of acquiring thereby the ownership of the adjoining land 
under water and riparian rights to its use, a most important title in estab- 
lishing the hydraulic canal upon the real estate donated by the Porter family 
to promote this great enterprise. 

The purchase of property to be held as the state reservation clouded this 
water-right and was only cleared after an appeal to the State Constitutional 
Convention and the legislature, the latter ratifying the title, as will be ex- 
plained in Chapter XI. 

By the Treaty of Paris, 1783, terminating the Revolutionary War between 
the United States and Great Britain, the State of New York became the 
owner of a strip of land 1 mile wide on the eastern bank of Niagara River, 
extending southerly along the river front for about 16 miles, from Lake 
Ontario. This land was part of the tract, 4 miles wide on each side of Niagara 
River, from Fort Niagara to Fort Schlosser, that England had exacted from 
the Seneca Nation in 1764 by the treaty which Sir William Johnson made 
with these Indians, as part indemnity for the massacre of English troops and 
settlers at "Devil's Hole" on Niagara River, on September 14, 1763. 

In a settlement of conflicting claims between the State of New York 
and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by deed of mutual cession dated 
December 16, 1786, the State of New York reserved from its cession to 
Massachusetts its title to this land, which became known as the "Mile Strip," 
and was described in the agreement as follows : 

Westerly and southerly along said (International) boundary line (in Lake Ontario) 
to a meridian which will pass one mile due east from the northern termination of the 
Streight (as spelled in the treaty) or waters between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie; 
thence south along the said meridian to the south shore of Lake Ontario ; thence on the 
easterly side of the said Streight, by a line always one mile distant and parallel to the 
said Streight, to Lake Erie. 

In 1802, the State of New York acquired by treaty with the Seneca Indians 
their title to 20 miles of the lands included in the "Mile Strip" on the eastern 
bank of Niagara River, thus completing the state's ownership of all the land 
of the "Mile Strip" from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, about 36 miles. 



The New York Legislature, in 1798, directed the Surveyor-General to 
survey the "Mile Strip '; to lay out the land in lots, and to provide for a 
town site. About the year 1800, a town site 1 mile square was located opposite 
Queenstown, and on February 25, 1805, it was named Lewiston by the 
commissioners of the land office of the state, in honor of Governor Morgan 
Lewis of the State of New York. 


On April 6, 1803, the legislature passed an act directing that all unappro- 
priated lands of the state be sold, and removed the inhibition established by 
the Act of May 11, 1784, against the grant, by the state as bounty, of the 
lands constituting the "Mile Strip." 

The commissioners of the land office authorized the Surveyor-General to 
advertise and sell all the lots in the village ( Lewiston) laid out on the Niagara 
River, opposite Queenstown, located between certain streets, but at not less 
than five dollars per lot. 


A map of the survey made in 1805 by Joseph Annin, deputy surveyor, 
under the direction of Simeon de Witt, surveyor-general, was prepared 
showing the division of the "Mile Strip" into lots, which were offered for sale 
at auction, February 26, 1805. This map is reproduced here, with the official 
record of sales of lots contiguous to the falls. 


The Act of 1803, also authorized the lease of the Niagara portage, between 
Lewiston, on the lower river near Lake Ontario and Fort Schlosser on the 
upper river, together with the necessary land at each end thereof. The com- 
missioners of the land office, on December 17, 1804, announced that proposals 
for such a lease would be received until March 12, 1805. 

Joseph Annin and Benjamin Barton (signing Jos Annin and Ben Barton) 
filed their proposal "for leasing the carrying and landing places on Niagara 
River and the Ferry at Queenstown." They offered to erect the stores and 
wharves, and to make the other improvements required on the part of the 
state for a lease of the premises and privileges for the term of twelve years. 

The commissioners of the land office in meeting 

proceeded to open the several proposals made for leasing the old Carrying and Landing 
places on the Niagara River with the ferry opposite to Queenstown ; and it appearing 
to the satisfaction of the Board that the proposals offered by Joseph Annin and 
Benjamin Barton were most advantageous to the interests of the State; and they 
having offered Peter B. Porter as their security: Thereupon 

Resolved, that their proposals be accepted, and their said security approved, and 
that the Secretary prepare Leases conformable to their said proposals and to the act 



'. . Purchasers 

Barent Sunders 

Barent Sanders 

Joseph Annin 

Alexunder Miller 

John McBride 

Walter Stewart 

Alexander Watson 

John McBride 

John McBride 

Hugh R. Martin for Nuthl Bunell . 
Arch'd Mclntyre & John McDonald 

Alexander Miller 

Joseph Annin 

Joseph Annin 

Joseph Annin 

Alexunder Miller 

Alexunder Miller 

Benjumin Barton 

Benjamin Burton 

Benjamin Burton 

Arch'd Mclntyre & John McDonald 
Arch'd Mclntyre & John McDonald 

Benjamin Barton 

John Carpenter 

Isaac Colt 

Alexander Miller 

Benjamin Barton 

Arch'd Mclntyre & John McDonald 

Benjamin Barton 

Joseph Alvord 


Per Acre 

No. Lot 


$ 3.60 













. 35 












39 ' 




















































3.37'/ 2 



3.37 •/. 









Daniel Steele 

Arch'd Mclntyre Si John McDonald 

Jacob Mancius 

William Low 

William Low 

Peter B. Porter 

Peter B. Porter for Leonard Stevens 
Peter B. Porter tor August Porter 
Peter B. Porter tor August Porter 

Joseph Annin 

Joseph Annin 

Peter B. Porter It Benjamin Barton 
Peter B. Porter & Benjamin Barton 

John Osbo 
Isaac Colt 
John Osbo 
John Osbo 
John Osboi 
Jacob Gilbert 
Jacob Gilbert 
James Ernott . 
James Ernott . 
David Rogers . 
Benjamin Bartni 
Jacob Gilbert . 
Jacob Gilbert . 
Jacob Gilbert . 
Jacob Gilbert . 
Jacob Gilbert . 

& Jared' R. Tyler 

it Jared It. Tyler 
& Jared R. Tyler 
it Jared R. Tyler 


Per Acre 

A'o. Lot 




















3.37 % 



3.37 % 



































































Jacob Gilbert 

Jacob Gilbert 

David Rogers 

John McDonald & Arch'd Mclntyn 

Jacob Gilbert 

Daniel Mallon ....... 

Daniel Ma 



Daniel Mallon 

Levi H. Palmer 

Levi H. Palmer 

William Stevens 

Beriali Palmer 

Beriali Palmer 

William Ernott 

Matthew Caldwell 

John Bird 

Alexander Stewart 

Matthew Caldwell 

Wilbelmus Mynderse 

Arch'd Mclntyre & John McDonald 
Arch'd Mclntyre & John McDonald 

Jacob Gilbert 

Arch'd Mclntyr 
Arch'd Mclntyr 

Benjamin Barton 

Arch'd Mclntyre & John McDonald 
Arch'd Mclntyre & John McDonald 

Archibald Campbell 

Arcbibuld Campbell 


No. Lot 


Per Acre 



































1.57 % 






























108 \ 


109 ( 



110 j 



111 I 


Benjamin Barton 

George Van Slykc 

John Randel, Jr 

John House 

John Barber 

John House 

Joseph Annin 

Constant Woodworth 

Sevvall Abbot 

John Barber 

Thomas Mumford 

Benjamin Barton 

Arcii'd Mclntyre & John McDonald 
John McDonald, Arch'd Mclntyre 
Benjamin Barber, Birdsey Norton 

& Peter B. Porter 

John McDonald, Arch'd Mclntyre 
Benjamin Barber, Birdsey Norton 

& Peter B. Porter 

John McDonald, Arch'd Mclntyre 
Benjamin Barber, Birdsey Norton 

& Peter B. Porter 

John McDonald, Arch'd Mclntyre 
Benjamin Barber, Birdsey Norton 
& Peter B. Porter 

Included in the Village of t 
Black Rock S 

Per Acre 


■ An Indian grant, confirmed by the state, and 100 acres sold to Peter B. Porter 

A Map of the "Mile Strip" 
Lands Along the Niagara River 


entitled "An Act for the sale of the unappropriated Lands and for other purposes" 
passed the 6th of April, 1803. 

The engrossed lease, in duplicate, was approved and the commissioners 
executed the same "on behalf of the People of this State," on March 16, 1805. 

The firm of Porter, Barton & Company was formed at this time, all four 
partners, Augustus Porter, Peter B. Porter, Benjamin Barton and Joseph 
Annin being present at the bidding, award and signing of the portage lease, 
which was assumed by the new firm. 

The land transport was by Indians, by ox-carts and by horse-wagons. The 
principal article of commerce was salt in barrels, received from Oswego on 
Lake Ontario, to be shipped westward from Buffalo. 


Under the authority of the lease, which for all practical purposes was 
without competition, Porter, Barton & Company conducted the commerce 
of the portage in both directions by land and by water, having their own 
vessels, owned or otherwise controlled, on both Lake Erie and Lake Ontario. 
This firm established the first line of transportation between New York and 
Buffalo, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh, which were distributing points. They, 
in effect, issued through bills of lading, and made through rates, being assisted 
in this business by their agents at Oswego, Messrs. Walton & Company. 

Porter, Barton & Company received freight from New York at Oswego, 
on Lake Ontario, where it was loaded on their vessels and carried to Lewiston. 
There the freight was transferred to the ox or horse teams and carried over 
the portage to Fort Schlosser, about two miles above the Great Falls. It 
was there placed aboard their own Durham boats, that were poled by 
Indians or others up Niagara River to Black Rock, where the freight was 
stored in the warehouses built opposite Squaw Island, 2 for shipment in their 
own vessels on Lake Erie to its western destinations. The salt shipments 
westward amounted to from fifteen thousand to eighteen thousand barrels 
annually. It is stated that five thousand barrels of salt were at one time at 
Black Rock awaiting vessels to load it for transport west, primarily to 

The charges for transportation, storage and ferriage were quoted as 

Seven shillings per barrel, Lewiston to Black Rock 
Three shillings per barrel, Schlosser to Black Rock 

1 A fleet of five boats, each carrying 150 barrels of salt. 

: Originally known as Scoy-gu-quides Island, near the entrance to the Erie Canal. A gift from the 
Seneca Indians to their trusted interpreter. Captain Jasper Parish, who, under the authority of a 
confirmatory act of the state legislature in 1816, sold the island in 1823 to Henry F. Penfii-ld. 



Six shillings per cwt. and upward for other freight, Lewiston to 

Black Rock 
For storage twelve cents per barrel 

For transportation across the carrying place at the rate of twenty-five 
cents for every cwt. 

An ox-team hauled twelve barrels, and a two-horse wagon carried seven 
barrels of salt. 

Ferriage at Queenstown as follows : 

Rate in Cents 

Man and horse 25 

One horse 121/2 

One foot passenger 6 

Wagon and two horses 75 

Additional horse 10 

Cart and oxen 75 

Cattle per head . 12^ 

Sheep and hogs .3 

Sleigh and horse 75 

The War of 1812 seriously interfered with the transportation operations 
of this firm. The lease of the portage acquired by the firm of Porter, Barton 
& Company expired by its terms at the end of twelve years, on March 16, 1817, 
and was extended for four years in recognition of the forced suspension of 
the business during the war. 


In 1825, the Erie Canal was opened for its entire length from Niagara 
River, near Squaw Island, at Black Rock (Buffalo) to the Hudson River at 
Albany, thus establishing an all-water route to New York City. The effect 
of the canal in diverting traffic from the old portage route through Niagara 
Falls and its paralyzing influence upon the business prospects have been 
recounted in the preceding chapter. 

The new transportation route by canal practically terminated the pioneer 
business of the Porter Brothers as merchants and forwarders and as owners of 
a system of transportation on lakes Erie and Ontario and over the land 
portage around the Great Falls. In their portage business they are reported 
as having established 

the first regular and connected line of forwarders that ever did business from tidewater 
to Lake Erie on the American side of the Niagara River, 

and of which it has been said it 

never wanted in efficiency or in prompt and honorable dealings. 

Largely as a result of their own contribution to the westward advance of 
the settlement of this country, their portage transit was supplanted by the 
Erie Canal and, a few years later, by the growing network of railroads. They 


Peter Buet/l Porter 

Pioneer Barrister, 1795 
Power Pioneer of Niagara, 1806 
Land Owner 
General Commanding National Force 
in War of 1812 
Honored by Congress and the State 
and City of New York 


had become identified with the settlement of Niagara, where they were the 
largest owners of important tracts of real estate favorably located for power 
development and manufacturing purposes. 

As pioneers in power development the Porter Brothers again devoted their 
influences and activities to the upbuilding of Niagara as a center of popula- 
tion and commerce. In this new period of their careers the great cataract was 
to be again the pivot of their public lives. Its hindrance to commerce had been 
the foundation of their business success; they now saw their opportunity in 
its vast undeveloped power, which became their hope for the utilization of 
their large landed estate, as well as for the community in which they dwelt. 

On June 24, 1825, they issued their "Invitation 1 to Eastern Capitalists," 
the first of their many efforts, to which reference has already been made in 
Chapter II, to enlist aid in this great work. 

Peter Buell Porter 

By Resolution of Congress, November 3, 1814, a gold medal 2 was struck and presented to 
Major-General Porter in testimony of the high sense entertained by Congress of his gal- 
lantry and good conduct in the battles of 1814: at Chippewa, July 5; Niagara (Lundy's 
Lane), July 25; Erie, September 17. 

1 Appendix C, Volume I. 

2 Stolen ; bronze replica struck for General Porter. 







Chapter IV 



IN previous chapters, references have been made to the many endeavors 
of Judge Augustus Porter to promote the development of the power of 
Niagara's falling floods. 


During January, 1847, Judge Porter issued a circular' addressed "To 
Capitalists and Manufacturers" offering a canal right-of-way, approximately 
three-quarters of a mile long, extending diagonally from the river above the 
upper rapids to the edge of the cliff about one-half mile below the falls, to 
any persons who would immediately undertake the construction of the canal. 

To the circular was attached a map 2 by P. Emslie, dated December, 1846, 
upon which was located the proposed canal and basin. 

While this effort to interest capital did not meet with immediate response, 
it undoubtedly stimulated interest in the project and in 1852 the first serious 
attempt to progress this plan was made. 


Caleb S. Woodhull of New York, and Walter Bryant and associates, of 
Boston, in 1852, entered into a contract with the heirs of Augustus Porter, 
the riparian owners, for the acquisition of the lands necessary for the intake 
to the canal on the upper river, the canal and terminal basin. The properties 
acquired by the Woodhull associates included: a plot of land, with its 
riparian rights, having a frontage of 425 feet on the upper river at the head 
of the canal; a right-of-way for the canal, 100 feet in width and approximately 
4400 feet in length; and about 45 acres of land at the canal terminus fronting 
on the high bank of the river below the falls for nearly 1 mile. 

The conveyance of land under this contract included only the lands to the 
edge of the high bank of the Niagara River and did not include the talus, or 
slope, between the edge of the high bank and the river, and only granted the 
right to excavate down the face of the bank 100 feet. These limitations of 
ownership were subsequently removed and full rights were acquired under 
the Schoellkopf management and ownership of 1877. 

This enterprise was incorporated March 19, 1853, under the title of the 
Niagara Falls Hydraulic Company, popularly termed the "Woodhull 
Project." The objects of the company were stated to be "for the purpose of 
carrying on and conducting manufacturing, chemical and mechanical business 

1 Appendix C, Volume I. 

2 Chapter II, page 46. 




First Waters from the Hydraulic Canal Falling over the 
"High Bank," Unutilized 

at the village of Niagara Falls by means of water-power drawn from the 
Niagara River immediately above the falls," and for the construction of a 
navigable hydraulic canal with its gates, bridges, wharves and other appur- 
tenances. A printed prospectus, in pamphlet form, with two maps, was issued 
bearing the date of 1853. 

The board of trustees comprised : 

Walter Bryant Caleb S. Woodhull Stephen M. Allen 

Daniel Badger Alfred Ashfield William Cockcraft 

Abram Wakeman 

and the officers were : 

President : Caleb S. Woodhull, 1 of New York City 
Secretary : Ezra S. King 
Agent: Walter Bryant, of Boston 
Chief Engineer: Charles Whitney 
1 Mayor of the city of New York, 1849-1850. 




First Utilization of the Hydraulic Canal Falling over the "High Bank," by the 
Gaskill Flouring Mill, Using only 25 Feet of the 210 Feet Available 

The entire capital of $500,000 was paid in, according to the evidence said 
to have been duly filed with the clerk of Niagara County. A certificate issued 
for shares, showing the signatures of the president and secretary, is shown 
on page G8. 

An issue of $200,000 5-year seven per cent convertible bonds was made in 
November, 1853, in the denomination of $500, "secured by a first mortgage 
on the Niagara Falls Hydraulic Canal and the lands, appendages and appur- 
tenances thereunto belonging," upon the condition that no other bonds should 
be issued until after all this issue of bonds had been paid and cancelled. 

The bonds were certified by Thomas McElrath, trustee of the mortgage. 




Manufactories of the Lower Milling District on the "High Bank" Served by the 
Hydraulic Canal, No Wheel Using the Full Head 

1 Central Milling Company 

2 Niagara Wood Paper Company 

3 Schoellkopf $ Mathews Flour Mill 

4 Pettebone Pulp Mill 

5 Charles B. Oaskill Flouring Mill 

6 Niagara Falls City Water Works 

7 Cliff Paper Company (first use of water, 
75 ft. head) 

8 Cliff Paper Company, Lower Mill (second 
use of water, 125 ft. head ) 

9 Oneida Community Mill 

Stephen M. Allen 1 at this time took a financial interest in the undertaking, 
which he had declined six years before, becoming one of the original party 
of four who commenced excavations. Ground was broken in 1853 and the 

1 Stephen M. Allen, self-described as an "old-fashioned engineer," of Boston, was acquainted with the 
Porter family and was familiar with the primitive methods of using water-power at Niagara by wooden 
overshot wheels in a loop canal, or raceway, paralleling the river along the upper rapids, and operating 
under very low heads. From 183.5, Mr. Allen had experience in the utilization of water-power by manu- 
facturers and in the building of mills, machinery and canals. In 1847, he submitted to Judge Porter a 
sketch plan for the hydraulic canal project embodying the wheel-pit development of power. In 1884 
Mr. Allen stated, "Judge Porter made me a proposition to give me the canal and certain lands if I 
would build it, which I declined." 




The Great Schoellkopf Electrical Power-plant at the Foot of the 
"High Bank" of The Niagara Falls Power Company Sending 
Power to Hundreds of Thousands of Users 

work of excavation was carried on for about sixteen months, when it was 
suspended for lack of funds. 

The plan of power development was described as a hydraulic canal 70 feet 
in width and 10 feet in depth, commencing on the Niagara River about half a 
mile above the rapids, and extending 4500 feet to a point on the bluff, about 
one-fourth of a mile below the falls, to its terminal in a basin, from which the 
waters discharged over a perpendicular bank about 210 feet high. The 
property rights acquired comprised ( 1 ) about 80 acres on the level plain or 
plateau below the falls, for manufacturing sites, extending about 1 mile on 
and along the high bank of the river, (2) 1100 feet of water front for wharf 
purposes, above the falls, opposite Grass Island, and (3) a strip of land 100 
feet wide for the canal, the whole situated within the limits of the village of 
Niagara Falls, as will be seen by reference to the map on page 46. "All these 
lands," it was claimed, "including their water-privileges and other advantages, 
together with the exclusive right to construct the proposed canal, were 



purchased by the company for the sum of $550,000, and are now absolutely 
owned by them." The Porter families are understood to have granted much of 
the right-of-way for the canal. 

The excavation for the canal in limestone rock and the advantages of the 
canal in overcoming the danger from anchor ice were mentioned as features 
of the plan. 

The population of the village of Niagara Falls in 1853 was probably less 
than 2000, and there were but few structures on the line of the canal, as it was 
located inland from the improvements that were then established near the 
river, in view of the rapids of the falls. 

Charles H. Bigelow, chief engineer of the hydraulic works at Lawrence, 
Massachusetts, described in 1853 several patterns of water-wheels that he 
thought useful in developing the power at the manufacturing sites on the 
bluff. "More especially the turbine," he wrote, "is admirably adapted to this 
object; a wheel of this kind, which is about 13 inches in diameter, is now work- 
ing in France under a fall of 354 feet and driving a factory of 8000 spindles." 


The prospectus of 1853 called attention to the following as some of the ad- 
vantages of the location : 

1. No less than six railroads, all centering at this point, are now (1853) completed or 

in course of construction. 

2. A commodious harbor may easily be made at the entrance of the projected canal ; as 

a reef of rocks, over which there is only 3 feet depth of water, stretches out from 
the river bank just below that point, to an island (Grass) directly opposite 
extending some distance above it, therewith forming a natural barrier, which, 
at no great expense, may be rendered a complete breakwater. The wharves of 
the company will thus become safely accessible from Buffalo by vessels of the 
largest class ; and canal boats, passing through the canal into the basin, will 
receive and discharge their freights at the very doors of the factories. 

3. The proximity of the city of Buffalo is of itself sufficient to secure to it (Niagara) 

inestimable advantages as a manufacturing center. 

4. Its attractiveness as a watering place will continue undiminished ; for the proposed 

situation of the factories is such as to preclude the possibility of their detract- 
ing in the least from the grandeur of the cataract. 

5. The celebrity which now attaches to the place, as the possessor of the sublimest of 

nature's works, will not be lessened when it shall be one of the great workshops 
of the world, sending forth daily the wonderful creations of human industry 
and skill. 

This company did not meet with success. The cost of construction largely 
exceeded the estimates, and the capital available was insufficient to carry the 
construction to the production of income. 




In 1856, the name of the company was changed to Niagara Falls Water 
Power Company and the following named directors and officers were elected: 


Stephen M. Allen James S. Greene John Fisk 

Horace H. Day Alexander Hay Parkhurst Whitney 

James Waldron 


President: Stephen M. Allen 

Vice-president and Treasurer : Horace H. Day 
Superintendent: Alexander Hay 
Hydraulic Engineer: L. M. Wright 

This company, known as the "Day Company" under its new owners and 
management, acquired a moderate amount of additional capital, provided 
by Stephen M. Allen, who took full charge of the construction work until 
about 1860, when the control of the company was purchased by Horace H. 
Day. The entrance and river portions of the canal were completed in the 
spring of 1857. This condition was celebrated on July 4, 1857, as the "occasion 
of the opening of navigation to Niagara Falls," when three steamers, the 
pioneers in opening steam navigation from Lake Erie to Niagara Falls, came 
in procession to the mouth of the canal, then and now called Port Day. Water 
was allowed to pass through the canal for the first time on that day. The ex- 
cavations permitting, commercial use was inaugurated the following year on 
the 4th of July, 1858, but the canal, as then projected, was not completed 
until 1862. 1Q - A 


Since the company was unable to raise the additional money after the ex- 
penditure, it was reported, of nearly $300,000 in the work on the canal, the 
property was sold in 1860 to Horace H. Day, who reorganized the company 
under the title of Niagara Falls Canal Company and raised considerable 
money, which was expended mainly in blasting the rock for what is now known 
as the hydraulic canal from Port Day. 

During the succeeding seventeen years, Mr. Day and his associates con- 
tinued, from time to time, the excavation of the canal, and it was claimed in 
the spring of 1877 that the canal had been completed 1 mile long, cut through 
rock, with a capacity of about 27,000 horse-power. To carry the enterprise 
to this point, the owners had been obliged to borrow money and to secure the 
same by mortgage upon the property. In addition to the lands, water-rights 



and mill-sites contributed by the Porter heirs, the total cash capital provided 
for construction work, in the water-power development from Port Day, by 
canal to the basin and mill-sites below the falls, between the years 1853 and 

1876, has been estimated at more than $800,000 by successive promoters who 
failed in their efforts because of inability to provide the capital required for 
the completion of their respective undertakings, as well as lack of demand for 
hydraulic power for manufacturing uses. 

Mr. Day stated that he had made every effort to protect the company's 
credit and had expended his entire fortune on the project. He had, however, 
been unable to raise any more money. The company had exhausted its re- 
sources and credit before the canal could be sufficiently extended to justify 
lessees in the construction of manufactories. 


The company having failed to meet the interest maturing upon its bonds, 
its mortgage was foreclosed and its entire property sold at auction, May 1, 

1877, for $71,000, the purchaser being Jacob F. Schoellkopf , and associates, of 
Buffalo. In a settlement of accounts with Mr. Day, a further payment of 
$5000 was made, making the total cost of the property to the purchasers, 
$76,000. This property consisted of the inlet from the Niagara River, called 
Port Day, the unfinished canal and the water-rights pertaining thereto, and 
about 45 acres of land on the cliff that have since been largely utilized for the 
canals and forebays of the manufacturing properties constructed there and 
operated by the water-power. 

Much satisfaction was expressed by citizens of the village of Niagara Falls 
at the purchase of this hydraulic property by Mr. Schoellkopf, who was recog- 
nized as a progressive and successful merchant and manufacturer of Buffalo. 
As practical business men, he and his subsequent associates, with the courage 
of their convictions and the means to develop the power and the community 
of Niagara as they conceived it possible and profitable, were hailed as a favor- 
able omen of progress and success for Niagara power. An old property owner 
declared when the sale was announced, "Now we can add a hundred dollars 
to the price of every lot." 


Prior to the purchase of the canal properties by the Schoellkopf associates, 
the first and only use that had been made of this water-power was in the flour- 
ing mill established in 1875 by Charles B. Gaskill. This was the first mill built 
upon the hydraulic canal basin, on the high bank below the falls. 



It should be remembered that the early developments upon the hydraulic 
canal basin at Niagara Falls were begun before the engineers and the manu- 
facturers dared to design and to build water-wheels for use under such high 
heads as were here available. Therefore, shafts, or pits, were sunk only to such 
depths, into the rock near the edge of the cliff, as were considered safe for the 
operation of the water-wheels then made. Turbines were first built of wood, 
later of wood and sheet iron, and still later bronze and steel were utilized. 

The Gaskill mill employed a head of but 25 feet, thus utilizing less than one- 
eighth of the potential energy of the falling water from the upper to the lower 
river levels. Water was brought from the canal basin first through wooden 
flumes, later through iron tubes, to the turbines located at the bottom of the 
shafts. After passing through the wheel, the water escaped through short tail- 
race tunnels which discharged from the face of the cliff into the gorge below. 

Reference to the illustration on page 71 will indicate how inefficiently these 
early developments used water, in the light of present-day knowledge and 


The new proprietors about this time issued an undated prospectus 1 headed 
"Niagara Falls Canal Company" and bearing the names of J. F. Schoellkopf, 
A. M. Chesbrough, Stephen M. Allen and Miles Standish and offering for 
sale on reasonable and accommodating terms one hundred mill and factory 
sites and three hundred cottage lots. The description of the canal contained 
in this circular indicated the size and capacity of the canal then to be at its 
mouth 66 feet in width and 11 feet in depth. The average width of the main 
section of the canal was given as 22 feet, and the average depth as 10 feet. 

Reference was made in detail to the facilities for the transportation of 
freight both by land and water, to the remarkably low taxation, and to the 
costs of living that were less at Niagara than in most manufacturing districts. 
The sites for manufacturing, it was stated, 

will be sold low according to location and size and the water at one thousand dollars per 
square foot of open weir surface at the head of the canal and the opening in the gates 
below to correspond in size to the square of water purchased. 

It was estimated that a square foot of water at the entrance of the canal, which 
would be one six hundred and sixtieth part of the whole inflow of water, with 
a velocity of 2y 2 feet per second, would give 41.67 horse-power, "a much more 
liberal estimate for loss of power upon water-wheels than is generally 
allowed," so the prospectus claimed. 

1 Appendix C, Volume I. 




A new company was incorporated by Mr. Schoellkopf in 1878 under the 
Business Corporation Law (Chapter 611) of 1875, under the name of The 
Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company. This com- 
pany acquired the canal property. 

In this corporation Mr. Schoellkopf associated with himself George B. 
Mathews, of Buffalo, with whom Mr. Schoellkopf had been associated in the 
milling business, and also his son, Arthur Schoellkopf, who took up his resi- 
dence in Niagara Falls and became the active manager of the hydraulic 
property, in which capacity he continued to act until his death in 1913. 


Following the acquisition of the property by The Niagara Falls Hydraulic 
Power and Manufacturing Company, the canal was improved and enlarged 
from time to time. The development of the property was inaugurated by the 
prompt erection by the firm of Schoellkopf and Mathews, between the canal 
and the top of the cliff, of a large flouring mill having a capacity of 1200 
barrels of flour a day, and operated by 22 run of stones until 1881, when 
power for rollers was obtained from two "American" cast-iron turbine wheels 
producing 900 horse-power under a 50-foot head of water that was discharged 
down the bank 150 feet to the river below. The Schoellkopf and Mathews 
mill was shortly afterwards followed by another flouring mill constructed 
northerly of the other mill by substantially the same Schoellkopf interests, 
but under the name of Central Milling Company, using the water under a 
head of 80 feet. 

The paper industry was the next manufacturing interest to utilize the canal 
water as its source of power. This naturally attracted and promoted the loca- 
tion of wood pulp factories and the manufacture of paper products. 


Under the stimulating example of Jacob F. Schoellkopf and his associates, 
other industries availed of the water-power of The Niagara Falls Hydraulic 
Power and Manufacturing Company, known as the "Schoellkopf" or "hy- 
draulic" company. 

The officers of this company in 1882 were: 

President : Jacob F. Schoellkopf 
Vice-president : William D. Olmsted 
Secretary and Treasurer: Arthur Schoellkopf 



The directors, in addition to these officers, were: 
George B. Mathews 
James Frazer Gluck 

In 1882, the following named industries were using power furnished by the 

"hydraulic" company: 

Title Industry Horse-power 

Charles B. Gaskill Flour Mill 100 

Schoellkopf and Mathews Flour Mill 900 

Niagara Wood Paper Company Pulp Mill 300 

Cataract Manufacturing Company Pulp Mill 1000 

J. F. Quigley Pulp Mill 250 

Oneida Community, Ltd. Silver Plating 150 

Suspension Bridge Village Water Works 25 

Total power 2725 h-p. 


Some time after this period the company announced its progress as follows: 
^Ve are furnishing over 8000 horse-power. 

We have just completed the enlargement of our hydraulic canal, cut through solid 
rock, and we are now ready to furnish 40,000 horse-power under a head of from 100 to 
200 feet. Without question this power will be constant and reliable in every way. 

We call your special attention to our latest development of power at the Cliff Paper 
Mill, using the water a second time under a head of 120 feet, and invite inspection. 

In the examination in 1881 of titles and values of the property and rights 
about to be acquired by the State of New York for its Niagara reservation, 
the commissioners of appraisement held that "Niagara River' is a public 
stream and its bed and waters belong to the State." The question of the com- 
pany's riparian rights against the state was brought, in 1894, before the New 
York State Constitutional Convention. In 1895, the Attorney-General of 
the state rendered an opinion to the commissioners of the Niagara State 
Reservation adverse to the contentions of the company in respect to the right 
of the state to interfere with or prohibit the company's use of water. 

By an act of the legislature of the State of New York, Chapter 968, laws 
of 1896, the right of the company 

to take, draw, use and lease and sell to others to use the waters of Niagara River for 
domestic, municipal, manufacturing, fire and sanitary purposes, and to develop power 

was recognized, declared and confirmed. 

For the first time the power of the Great Falls was successfully utilized, 
the manufacturing enterprises and the "hydraulic" company were profitable, 

1 See Chapter VI, "State Reservation at Niagara." 



the population of the village of Niagara Falls increased and its prospects 
were recognized as attractive, as an industrial as well as a scenic center. 


In 1881, the first hydro-electric generating station was established on the 
hydraulic basin to supply electricity for commercial purposes. This station 
was located in what was then known as Quigley's Mill, later the Cliff Paper 
Comj>any's Mill. In this station there were installed water-wheels operating 
under a head of about 86 feet. These wheels operated the paper mill, several 
small factories and an arc light machine owned by the Brush Electric Light 
and Power Company, which concern had been organized in November, 1881, 
by Jacob P. Schoellkopf, George B. Mathews, W. D. Olmsted, Arthur 
Schoellkopf and Benjamin Rhodes. The December 14, 1881, issue of the 
Gazette, Niagara Falls' weekly newspaper, said: 

No sooner was the announcement made through the columns of the Gazette that an 
electric light company had been formed in the village for the purpose of supplying our 
stores and manufacturers with light, than applications began to pour in, and the com- 
pany has been busy filling the orders. This evening (Wednesday, December 14, 1881), the 
company will furnish light for the Schoellkopf and Mathews grist-mill, J. Quigley's pulp 
mill, Oneida Community Building, Marr & Duff's dry goods store, H. E. Griffith's drug 
store, S. Hirsch's dry goods store, and the Gazette office. 

The first arc-light machine installed in this electrical development weighed 
2250 pounds and delivered sufficient electricity to operate sixteen 2000 candle- 
power open arc lamps which were used to furnish street and store service. 
This use of hydraulic power, converted into electric light, was the first public 
distribution of electricity at Niagara Falls, and it stimulated interest in the 
development of power in general at Niagara. 

In 1886, The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Com- 
pany secured a deed for the slope or strip of land between the high bank and 
the lower river, that was not included in the original grants acquired from the 
Porter family. The value of this strip for every purpose in the development 
and use of power was thus early recognized. 


By an examination of the view of the "Milling District," in 1893, on page 72, 
it will be noticed that in no instance was the power fully utilized, or even half 
used, as the available fall was about 210 feet, while the water-wheels were in- 
stalled at a comparatively short distance down the cliff, the earliest of iron, 
at 25 and 50 feet, and subsequent wheels, of iron and bronze, under greater 





During 1895 and 1896 The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manu- 
facturing Company constructed its Power Station Number Two' at the 
water's edge in the gorge, designed to use water under the full available head 
of 210 feet. In the first section of this station were installed four double dis- 
charge turbines, built by James Leffel & Company, of Springfield, Ohio. 
These four turbines had a total capacity of 6850 horse-power, and were sup- 
plied with water through an 8-foot diameter steel penstock extending from 
the forebay at the top of the cliff to the power-house below. 

The first section of the full head development proved so successful that two 
more sections were immediately added, making a station 170 feet long by 100 
feet wide, of fire-proof construction being built entirely of stone and steel. 
The equipment of the completed station consisted of fifteen turbines, the 
capacities of fourteen of them ranging from 1600 to 3500 horse-power, the 
combined output capacity being 34,000 horse-power. The turbines of the two 
sections of Power Station Number Two last built received their supply of 
water through steel penstocks 11 feet in diameter. In respect to the power 
capacity, these penstocks were then the largest in the world. 

In the light of present central station practise, it is interesting to review in 
brief detail the installations made in Hydraulic Station Number Two. 

Not only was it possible in this station to utilize the full effective drop of 210 
feet between the head of the upper rapids and the Maid-of-the-Mist pool below 
the cataracts, but it was also possible to use horizontal shafts directly connect- 
ing turbines and generators which practically eliminated all bearing troubles. 

To each turbine was attached two or more generators. The Pittsburgh 
Reduction Company (now the Aluminum Company of America) received 
the output of six 560-kilowatt, eight 750-kilowatt and four 1000-kilowatt 
generators, delivering direct current at 300 volts. These eighteen generators 
were all of Westinghouse design and manufacture, and aggregated 13,360 
kilowatts or about 18,000 horse-power. 

The National Electrolytic Company, engaged in the electrolytic manufac- 
ture of chlorate of potash, 2500 horse-power, taking the output of one 200-kilo- 
watt, 135-volt, direct-current, and two 875-kilowatt, 175-volt, direct-current 
generators; all designed and produced by the General Electric Company. 

The Acker Process Company utilized an aggregate of 3800 electrical horse- 
power delivered in the form of direct current at 325 volts by three 1000- 
kilowatt, 3100 ampere, General Electric generators. 

1 Since abandoned. 



One turbine drove two 560-kilowatt, 550-volt, direct-current generators of 
General Electric make. One of these generators carried a commercial load, 
supplying current to about fifty small users of power. The other generator 
carried a railway load, for the operation of the Niagara Gorge Railroad. 1 A 
booster with a range of 300 amperes was attached, and in circuit with the 
Youngstown and Lewiston electric railroad 14 miles distant from the power- 

Two 1000-kilowatt, 11,000-volt, 3-phase alternators, manufactured by the 
Bullock Manufacturing Company, supplied 25-cycle current for transmis- 
sion to customers located at various distances up to 2 miles. One 700-kilowatt, 
2200-volt, single-phase alternator made by the Walker Manufacturing Com- 
pany was operated for the Buffalo and Niagara Falls Electric Light and 
Power Company which company was the distributing agent of Niagara 
power for commercial and municipal lighting in the city of Niagara Falls. 

It is interesting now to note that of the total capacity of Hydraulic Station 
Number Two, amounting to 34,000 horse-power, approximately 90 per cent 
was used for generating direct current, and but 10 per cent for alternating 
current. Today, the ratio is reversed, slightly more than 90 per cent of the 
system output being alternating current. 

The "hydraulic" company began the building of its Station Number Three- A 
in 1903 and completed it in 1913. The equipment consisted of thirteen double- 
runner, 300 r.p.m., 10.000 horse-power turbines and two single-runner, 500 
r.p.m., 1000 horse-power turbines, all horizontal shafts, furnishing mechan- 
ical energy for the operation of generators. These turbines all operated under 
an effective head of 210 feet. The electrical equipment of this station was 
made up of eight 8000-kilowatt, 12,000-volt, 3-phase, 25-cycle; two 1000- 
kilowatt, 2200-volt, 3-phase, 25-cycle; and ten 3500-kilowatt, 550-volt 
direct-current generators. The ten direct-current generators were connected 
to five water-wheel shafts, two generators to one shaft. The total rated in- 
stalled capacity of Station Number Three-A was 132,000 horse-power. 2 


Jacob Frederick Schoellkopf located his home and business in Buffalo in 
1844, where as a leather manufacturer he became one of the successful men of 
that community. After his purchase in 1877 of the hydraulic canal at Niagara 
Falls, and the transfer of the canal property to The Niagara Falls Hydraulic 

1 The Niagara Gorge Railroad was purchased by The Niagara Falls Power Company during January, 

2 For table showing installed rated capacity of later Schoellkopf installations, see Appendix P, 
Volume II. 


Jacob Frederick Schoellkopf 

Born in Kirchheim, Germany 
November 15, 1819 

Died in Buffalo, N. Y. 
September 15, 1899 

Founder in 1877 of 
The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and 
Manufacturing Company 

Whose Foresight and Courage Laid 
the Foundation for the Power Development 
at Niagara Falls 


Power and Manufacturing Company in 1878, he became its president, an 
office he held until his death, September 15, 1899. 

His life was one of industry, courage and patience, and his enterprises 
testified to his forethought. He succeeded where others had failed. 

The industries he established in the utilization of the waters of Niagara con- 
stitute a monument to his leadership and influence in the upbuilding of the 
city of Niagara Falls, and in the commerce of that community. 

His will expresses his confidence in the future of the hydraulic company 
by the provision that the interests he bequeathed should not be sold for a 
period of years after his death. 

Upon Mr. Schoellkopf 's death in 1899, George B. Mathews of Buffalo 
became president of the hydraulic company, and Arthur Schoellkopf, of 
Niagara Falls, continued as the active manager of the property. The suc- 
cessful development of the properties of the company continuously pro- 
gressed under the guidance of Mr. Mathews and Mr. Schoellkopf, until the 
death of Arthur Schoellkopf in 1913 and the retirement of Mr. Mathews in 
1914. Thereafter the management of the property devolved upon several 
members of the family of Jacob F. Schoellkopf, Sr. Among those most active 
therein were Jacob F. Schoellkopf (his son), the present chairman of the 
board of directors of the consolidated company; Paul A. Schoellkopf, the 
present president of the consolidated company, son of Arthur Schoellkopf, 
and grandson of the first Jacob F. Schoellkopf; and Alfred H. Schoellkopf, 
vice-president of the consolidated company, another grandson of the first 
Jacob F. Schoellkopf, and the son of C. P. Hugo Schoellkopf, who has also 
for many years been active in the affairs of the hydraulic company and the 
consolidated company. 




The project of a short hydraulic canal to a forebay on the bluff proposed 
by Stephen M. Allen in 1847 to Judge Augustus Porter, passed into the 
ownership of various companies under the following successive titles : 

1853 — Niagara Falls Hydraulic Company 
known as the "Woodhull project." 

1856 — Niagara Falls Water Power Company 
known as the "Day" company. 

1860 — Niagara Falls Canal Company 
known as the "Day" company. 

1878 — The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company 

known as the "hydraulic" canal, 
or "Schoellkopf" company. 

1909-1910 — Hydraulic Power Company of Niagara Falls 
Cliff Electrical Distributing Company 
known as the "Schoellkopf" companies. 

1918 — The Niagara Falls Power Company, mcmxviii 

known as the "consolidated" company, under the control and manage- 
ment of the Schoellkopf family and their associates. 



1856-1913 ' 




For three generations the Schoellkopf family have 
been engaged in power development at Niagara 
Falls, the first Jacob F. Schoellkopf having 
founded The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and 
Manufacturing Company in 1877, and having con- 
tinued as president of this company and its suc- 
cessor, the Hydraulic Power Company of Niagara 
Falls, until his death in 1899. The record of his 
sons and grandsons follows: Jacob F. Schoellkopf, 

II, son of Jacob F., I, president, Hydraulic Power 
Company of Niagara Falls, 1914 to 1918 ; chairman, 
board of directors of The Niagara Falls Power 
Company, 1918 to date; chairman, board of di- 
rectors of Buffalo, Niagara and Eastern Power 
Corporation, 1925 to date; Jacob F. Schoellkopf, 

III, son of Jacob F., II, director of The Niagara 
Falls Power Company, 1918 to date; director, 
Buffalo, Niagara and Eastern Power Corporation, 
1925 to date; Arthur Schoellkopf, son of Jacob 

F., I, secretary and treasurer, The Niagara Falls 
Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company, 
and its successor, the Hydraulic Power Company 
of Niagara Falls, 1877 to 1913; Paul A. Schoell- 
kopf, son of Arthur, vice-president, Hydraulic 
Power Company of Niagara Falls, 1913-1918; 
president, The Niagara Falls Power Company, 1919 
to date; president, Buffalo, Niagara and Eastern 
Power Corporation, 1925 to date; C. P. Hugo 
Schoellkopf, son of Jacob F., I, vice-president, The 
Niagara Falls Power Company, 1918 to 1926; vice- 
chairman, board of directors, The Niagara Falls 
Power Company, 1926 to date; director, Buffalo, 
Niagara and Eastern Power Corporation, 1925 to 
date; Alfred H. Schoellkopf, son of C. P. Hugo, 
vice-president, The Niagara Falls Power Company, 
1920-1926; vice-president and general manager, 
Buffalo, Niagara and Eastern Power Corporation, 
1925 to date. 



Chapter V 



UP to this point, the course of Niagara's material advance has been 
followed as it would have revealed itself to a visitor returning to the great 
cataract from time to time through the century following the American 

Petty uses of power by a few individual mills located on the raceway loops, 
upon the river bank above and near the falls, satisfied their meager require- 
ments from the waters of the upper rapids, as if from an ordinary river, 
without drawing upon the vast abundance of the Great Falls. 

The lack of financial resources was indicated by the slow progress of the 
"hydraulic" canal, built in portions, under the administration of four suc- 
cessive companies, three upon the wrecks of the fortunes of their predecessors. 

The inauguration of a new period of local prosperity was stimulated by the 
so-called completion of the canal, which made available the entire head of the 
falls for such use as the manufacturer could make of it. 

These were the developments that had actually stamped themselves upon 
the landscape of Niagara. 

In order to gain a true perspective of the Niagara problem, it may be 
helpful to take account also of several futile projects which were brought 
forth during that period for the utilization of the waters of the river, and to 
consider the reasons why they did not come to a successful issue. 


From the time of the first voyageurs, the falls had always been a great 
obstacle upon the main trade-route to the West. The increase of commerce 
between Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, on its way between the East and the 
growing West, and the necessity of using the Niagara portage, prompted 
consideration of the means whereby the portage around the falls and rapids 
might be avoided and such transportation cheapened and quickened by the 
use of a barge canal to be constructed. 


The earliest of these projects had for their chief object an effective means 
of water transportation between the Great Lakes, with the development of 
power as merely incidental to this purpose. 

Appeals were made to the state legislature for relief. Upon representa- 
tion that the route was feasible and "would tend greatly to facilitate and 
advance the internal commerce of this state and promote the convenience and 



prosperity of the people thereof," a charter was granted April 5, 1789, to the 
Niagara Canal Company with authority to construct a canal beginning at or 
near Steadman's landing, about 2 miles above the falls of Niagara, to a 
convenient place below the falls, at Lewiston, opposite Queenstown, a distance 
of about 7 miles, with all locks, dams, works and devices necessary for "com- 
plete navigable water communication" between the said places; also "to take 
the water from the channel for mills and other hydraulic works which may be 
erected or constructed by the company and to lease the use of the water for 
any lawful purpose." 

The company was further authorized to condemn land and to use so much 
of the land belonging to the people of the State of New York as might be 
necessary for canal and locks and also 100 feet in width on each side of the 
said canal for towing paths, and other incidental purposes. 

This is the first reference in state legislation to the use of the waters of the 
Niagara River. The primary object, it will be noted, was navigation, the 
development of power being merely incidental. 

By the terms of its charter the company was required to complete the canal 
and locks by January 1, 1809. It does not appear that this undertaking ever 
reached the stage of actual construction ; and from the fact that the same name, 
Niagara Canal Company, was given to a new corporation under a legislative 
act of April 11, 1823, it may be inferred that the charter of the old company 
expired by default. 


Authority to build a canal was granted for the purpose of opening naviga- 
tion from above the falls, beginning at or near the mouth of Gill Creek in the 
town of Niagara, to the heights overlooking Lewiston, and to construct a rail- 
way from there to the navigable water of the Niagara River nearly opposite 
Queenstown. The company was also authorized 

to take the surplus water which shall be contained in any lock, bay, pond, or embankment, 
or other improvement made by the said company, and make use of the same .... for 
mills or any other hydraulic works which may be erected or constructed by the company. 

To enter upon, possess, and occupy any lands near the north termination of said canal 
and railway, either on the side of the mountain or stony flat below, that shall be neces- 
sary to erect mills for any hydraulic works, with full power to make all dykes, ponds, 
embankments, raceways, tail-races, roads, bridges and gates. 

The company was authorized to impose a toll for the use of navigation not 

fifty cents per ton for all property carried on the canal through the whole distance 



It was also enacted that the legislature might 

dissolve the company, when the income arising from the said tolls shall have fully com- 
pensated the said company for all necessary expenditures, together with an interest 
of fourteen per cent per annum, 


in case the said company shall fail or neglect to complete the said canal, .... within 
ten years from the passing of this act, then and from thenceforth all and every right, 
privilege and immunity granted and secured by this act, shall cease and terminate. 

Bates Cook, Robert Fleming, William Hotchkiss, Ames S. Tryon and 
Rufus Spalding were appointed commissioners to offer publicly for subscrip- 
tion the capital stock authorized, not exceeding $120,000, in shares of twenty 
dollars each, payable at par as the commissioners might prescribe, in labor 
on the canal, in materials, in provisions, or in money. 

By comparing the charters of 1789 and 1823 it will be observed that the 
earlier grant was for a complete navigable water communication by canal 
with locks and dams, from Steadman's landing to a convenient place below 
the falls opposite Queenstown. The Act of 1823 authorized a company with 
the same name to build a canal, for the purposes of opening navigation from 
Gill Creek above the falls and near Steadman's landing, to the heights near 
Lewiston. In the latter case, no dams and locks were authorized or appar- 
ently contemplated, to extend the navigation down to the level of the lower 
Niagara River. It is evident that locks to overcome the difference in eleva- 
tion of 316 feet between the water level of the upper river and the river below 
the falls near Queenstown, the port of Lake Ontario, had been found im- 
practicable, and the remainder of the portage was expected to be accomplished 
by a transfer by railway of merchandise and passengers from boats in the 
canal terminus at the bluff overlooking Lewiston, to the navigable water of 
the Niagara River nearly opposite Queenstown. 

This act also provided that if the canal authorized was not completed within 
ten years, all the rights granted should cease. There is no evidence that any 
serious work was done on the canal or railroad. As the canal route would have 
required rock excavation for its entire length of approximately 6 miles, the 
construction project was as impracticable an undertaking as that of the Act 
of 1789, excepting that a railway was authorized instead of locks to overcome 
the difference of elevation between the terminals. It may be observed that 
the provision for a railway in the Act of 1823 antedates by several years the 
commercial advent of the locomotive in America. 

These charters granted by the State of New York for the development, 
primarily, of water transportation, and, incidentally, of power, had not offered 



sufficient inducement to secure the necessary investment of capital. No work 
was performed under them. It may be concluded that in each case the esti- 
mated cost of excavating such a canal through 6 miles of solid rock proved 
discouraging, and led to the abandonment of the undertakings. It would 
not pay. 


Several national projects were seriously considered for a ship canal around 
Niagara Falls. From 1808 to 1863, resolutions were passed, surveys ordered 
and reports made, but Congress failed to make an appropriation for construc- 
tion, which was variously estimated by the engineers employed, at from 
$1,000,000 to $3,000,000. The routes were mainly from above the falls to the 
vicinity of Lewiston. No such construction was authorized or provided for 
then or since. 

The completion of the Erie Canal in 1825, with a harbor on the Niagara 
River, near Buffalo, and the construction of railroads approaching Niagara 
Falls, put the Niagara portage into disuse, and turned the thoughts of those 
interested in the utilization of the waters of Niagara River from the facilities 
of transportation to the development of power. 


The first united effort to utilize the power of the Niagara River as a main 
purpose, apart from transportation, appears in the incorporation of the 
Niagara River Hydraulic Company, April 11, 1832. This was a project for 
a hydraulic and manufacturing development at Squaw Island, near Buffalo, 
at the junction of the Erie Canal with the Niagara River, bordering on its 
eastern shore and upon the "Pierpont Harbor" and the lower "Black Rock 
Harbor." The water-power available at this island was comparatively small. 
Although the location was some distance from the falls, the development of 
this project was thought to be detrimental to the further settlement, at that 
period, of the town of Niagara Falls. 

A map was prepared showing the entire island, laid out in mill-sites and 
residential lots, under the name of : The Village of Pierpont on Squaw Island, 
owned by Ogden Edwards and Henry F. Penfield. 

The explanation of the map follows: 

The Blackrock Harbour has created a water-power at this point of five feet Head 
and Falls. It is at the foot of a ship navigation of 1000 miles and at the Commencement 
of the Grand Canal. The Mill Lots are all 100 feet broad and from 150 to 200 feet 
deep or long. The Building Lots are 50 by 100 feet. The Streets are 60 feet wide, 
excepting adjoining the mill seats, where they are 30 feet wide. The blocks are 400 by 
200 feet. There is a Horse Boat Ferry from Pierpont to Canada and it is connected 
with the Maine by a Dam seventy feet wide and a free Bridge. 



It is worthy of note that those streets called Bre(a)ckenridge, Porter and 
Barton bore the names of engineers of The Niagara Falls Power Company 
engaged in construction work at Niagara Falls during 1890-1895. 

The Squaw Island project never reached the stage of actual construction. 

Lewiston Water Supply Company, 1888 

One of the most comprehensive and expensive of the many projects sub- 
mitted by engineers of recognized ability and experience was that proposed 
in the latter part of the year 1888 by J. T. Fanning, chief engineer of the 
St. Anthony Falls Water Power Company, of Minneapolis, Minnesota, 
acting in behalf of the Lewiston Water Supply Company 1 whose charter, 
capital stock, franchise, project, plans and property were acquired by The 
Cataract Construction Company in February, 1890. 

The Fanning project possessed many features of the "hydraulic" canal, and 
of the discharge "tunnel" plan of Evershed, but the length of each element was 
much greater. It included what the others did not, a canal or inland harbor, 
600 feet long, 150 feet wide and 20 feet deep, with 4 miles of wharfage front 
for the terminal accommodation of lake shipping. The canal system was pro- 
jected to supply a large number of water-wheels which were to discharge 
their water through a system of tunnels into the lower river. 

Mr. Fanning concluded a statement regarding the project as follows: 

There is no water-power where the expense of repairs, attendance and supplies can be 
reduced to so low a minimum. 

There is no large water-power in America so well protected from destructive effects 
of running logs and ice or from the breaking of dams higher up the stream, or having 
such probable immunity from accidents, or having so many elements of safety and 

There is no site of a large water-power having equal facilities to receive all kinds 
of raw materials in large abundance at so low a cost, no site that can receive common 
or skilled labor with greater facility, or that can send its manufactured products to 
such a variety of large markets with greater facility, and there is no large water-power 
site in America where development gives greater promise of both practical and financial 

Niagara was not to attain her true destiny under this regime. The potentiali- 
ties of the great cataract far transcend any scheme for utilization of power 
restricted by the methods then in use. This project is interesting because it 
represented a full development of water-power enterprises in this country at 
that period, that were based upon the long-used system of building a mill over 
a wheel-pit — a method that received its knell at Niagara in 1890. 

1 Charter expired in 1893 for non-use. 




Among the citizens of Buffalo who appreciated the advantages that would 
accrue to their city if the power of the Niagara River were put to practical 
use in that community were Messrs. Richard H. and James B. Stafford, 
proprietors of the "Famous Fulton Market," situated at the corner of Church 
and Pearl streets. It occurred to these gentlemen that if a sufficient induce- 
ment were offered to enlist the interest of engineers and inventors in the 
problem, some hope might be entertained of a satisfactory solution in which 
their fellow-citizens might profit. 

They accordingly opened a subscription list for the creation of a fund of 
$100,000 for this purpose, and by their personal efforts succeeded in obtaining 
110 subscriptions aggregating $109,500. Following is the form of subscrip- 
tion and the list of subscribers, all, with one exception, for $1000 each: 

BUFFALO, N. Y. JULY 14th, 1887. 

The undersigned agree to pay the sums set opposite their names respectively, in the 
manner hereinafter stated, to a fund, which shall constitute a prize or reward, to be 
offered to the inventors of the World, for the discovery or invention, and sole right to 
use the same, of the best appliance for utilizing and one that will utilize it commercially, 
the water-power of Niagara River, at or near Buffalo, so that such power may be made 
practically available for various purposes throughout the city. None of the subscrip- 
tions hereto shall be payable unless the aggregate sum subscribed shall amount to at 
least one hundred thousand dollars, and when that amount is subscribed, a meeting 
of the subscribers shall be called, at which meeting each subscriber may cast one vote 
for every fifty dollars he has subscribed. Such meeting shall determine the specific terms 
and conditions on which the offer of said prize or reward shall be published to the world, 
and shall determine the manner and time of payment of the subscriptions hereto. 

Adams, James 
Barnard, Jos. E. 
Barnes, Hengerer & Co. 
Barr, G. D. 
Bishop, Chas. F. 
Box, Henry W. 
Brady & Drullard 
Brayton, S. N., M.D. 
Briggs, G. D. 
Burns, Millard S. 
Bush, John W. 
Busch, Fred 
Butler, E. H. 
Campbell, John A. 
Cook, P. N. & Co. 
Coppins, Frank T. 
Cowles, S. H. 

Curtiss, C. G. 
Cutler, A. & Son 
Davis, W. H. 
Dimick, Loi-enzo 
Dingins, John C. 
Eagan, S. F. 
Emmet, J. K. 
Fargo, F. F. 
Ferris, P. J. 
Germain, G. P. 
Graves, John C. 
Greene, Samuel B. 
Hagen, F. P. 

Hamlin C. J., Wm. & Harry 
Hammond, S. W. 
Harrington, D. W. 
Harvey & Henry 

Hautmann, F. J. 
Hefford, R. R. 
Heimbruch & Hodge 
Hodson, Matthew 
Howard, Geo. R. 
Howard, R. L. 
Hughes, John 
Inglehart, F. M. 
Irlbacker & Davis 
Johnson, W. H. 
Kent, H. M. 
King, Wm. J. 
Kirkbauer, H. D. 
Kittinger, Joseph 
Koons, Henry 
Lautz, Chas. 
Lautz, Fred C. M. 



list of subscribers — continued 

Linen, John R. 
Locke, Franklin D. 
Loh, Fred C. 
Loomis, Frank M. 
Lyman, C. M. 
Lyth, Jno. & Sons 
Lytle, Chas. P. 
Mack, Norman E. 
Marshall, Chas. D. 
Martin, John 
McMillan, Daniel H. 
McMullin, Fred L. 
Mills, Edward P. 
Moore, J. Lansing 
Morgan, D. E. & Son 
Morgenstern, Jacob 
Movius, E. H. 
Nagel, Jno. C. 
Nellaney, M. 
Oatman, Leroy 

O'Day, Daniel 
Onello, Lewis 
Palen, M. 
Palen, Robert 
Partridge, G. W. 
Pooley, Chas. A. 
Potter & Williams 
Pratt, P. P. 
Ratcliffe, S. M., Jr. 
Rebstock, J. E. 
Reilly, Wm. B. 
Richardson, Chas. 
Rockwood, E. A. 
Rumsey, D. P. 
Sandrock, George 
Satterfield, John 
Schaefer, G. A. 
Scheu, S. 

Sherman Bros. & Co. Ltd. 
Smith, John H. 

Smith, Wm. B. 
Stafford, Jas. B. & R. H. 
Stafford & Co. 
Storer, Samuel L. 
Sweet, C. A. 
Swift, H. J. 
Taylor, H. L. 
Taylor, R. 
Thomas, J. 
Thorn & Angell 
Wadsworth, H. C. 
Walker, Wm. H. 
Warner & Co. 

Weill, Henry & Co. 
Wennell, Michael 
Winnan, Erastus 

Wood, W. E. 
Wright, A. P. 
Zink & Hatch 

The local newspapers supported the idea enthusiastically by communicated 
articles and by editorials, and the scheme soon attracted world-wide publicity. 
Projects were submitted in ever-increasing number, the mail becoming so 
heavy that a society, the Buffalo Business Men's Association, was formed 
under the presidency of James B. Stafford to take care of it, with Peter J. 
Ferris, one of the subscribers, devoting his entire time to the matter as secre- 
tary of the association. The whole third floor of the Fulton Market Building, 
on Pearl Street, was used as a storage and exhibition place for the models 
which were brought in by the inventors or received by express. 

At about this time, a fair was being held at the Hamlin Driving Park, 
through which flowed the Scajaquada Creek. The various inventors were 
invited to take this opportunity of testing their models in the creek to show 
how they would perform under natural conditions. Many of the inventions 
failed utterly under the tests, and none succeeded in convincing the subscribers 
of their merit. 

One of the results of the interest thus awakened in the Niagara River was 
the formation of the Niagara Hydraulic Electric Company, a Virginia 
corporation with authorized capital stock of $20,000,000, which had for its 
object a great development of power by means of hydro-electric machines to 
be located in caves excavated behind the falling water at the great cataract, 
in such a way as to utilize the water without diverting it. The Messrs. Stafford 




were much interested in this scheme, and gave its promoters their active sup- 
port, until convinced by a visit from Peter A. Porter of Niagara Falls, who 
was promoting the plan of Thomas Evershed, which will be fully dealt with 
in a later chaj>ter, that the latter project was far more promising of practical 

The Business Men's Association was therefore dissolved, without debts and 
without having called upon its subscribers for any money. The effort, how- 
ever, was a demonstration of the public sentiment of many influential citizens 
in Buffalo and was considered as an urgent invitation to extend a power line 
to that city at the earliest opportunity. 


Under the foregoing title, a prospectus of thirty-two pages issued in 1893 
presents a sample of projects of another character. The word Niagara, sug- 
gesting such related words as colossal, inexhaustible, opportunity, power, 
fortune, was a word with which the promoter could conjure. 

The project mainly sought, first, to develop 15,000 acres of land border- 
ing on Lake Ontario and extending southward to Lewiston and, second, to 
build a power canal to take water from the Niagara River, east of the town 
of La Salle and to conduct it to the lands of the company and its manufac- 
turing districts, providing power by a fall at the escarpment or Niagara 

The following statements were among those used to emphasize the com- 
mendation of the investment by its promoters : 

Nothing approaching it in magnitude, perfection or power has ever before been 

If you intend to invest, do so promptly, take advantage of "first prices" and "choicest 
locations" and thus control "the largest possible profits" with the amount of money 
at your command. 

Our vast Development Fund of $25,500,000, our cheap homes for workmen, our 
"free sites, free power" and other advantages "practically guarantee success" and 
"rapid development" such as no other city in the world ever experienced. 

Risk of loss is entirely eliminated. There is no risk and a compound accumulative 
profit in the earliest investment. 

We do not urge any one to invest, wishing only to call attention to the foregoing 
facts that you may be able to place yourself among the most favored ones in the enter- 
prise if you wish to do so. 

Designed to be the most perfect city in existence. 

Unlimited water-power. Superlative conditions. Foresight. Investments. Profit- 
sharing Plants. 



The company did some work of construction upon the sections of its canal 
at the proposed inlet and the outlet at the escarpment. The companies became 
bankrupt, and the moneys invested in the enterprise were lost. 


The consideration at Buffalo in 1882 of a sewerage system and of the 
issuance of $3,000,000 of city bonds for its cost led to a project widely ad- 
vertised that was intended to avoid the necessity of issuing these bonds. It 
was hoped thereby to combine the flow of sewerage with that of the waters of 
the lake in a tunnel that would discharge under the falls of Niagara and 
develop a water-power for manufacturing upon a large acreage secured on 
Grand Island for factory sites. This was called a splendid dream for the 
utilization of Niagara power. Practically it was a diversion of a large amount 
of water from the falls to a. sewerage discharge below the falling waters taken 
from the mouth of the river at Buffalo. The enterprise was forecast as a 
magnificent sewerage system for a city with a population of five million and 
the erection of thousands of mills and factories. Although this project received 
recognition from the city government that appointed a committee of seven 
citizens for the purpose of making a report on the feasibility and desirability 
of the proposal, it also failed to materialize and the city of Buffalo was obliged 
to pay for its own sewerage system. 

Inducements to invest at Niagara were seldom accompanied by explana- 
tions of physical difficulties that were almost insurmountable and impediments 
which awaited the development of scientific knowledge, invention and en- 
gineering skill. 

These impediments challenged conquest. 

Many new actors, novel projects, and startling inventions will appear as 
the records of a decade are uncovered by succeeding chapters. 

The interest in power development on a large scale near Niagara Falls has 
been related in the account of the hydraulic canal in Chapter IV. The evolu- 
tion of the Evershed tunnel project, the second of the great power projects 
which has persisted, will be told in Chapter VIII. 

The futile efforts of the pioneer years are now all but forgotten. Their 
rehearsal is of historic interest and it shows how long and disappointing was 
the road to success. Even $100,000 reward for a method of bringing power 
from Niagara to Buffalo brought forth no practical plan in 1887; such an 
achievement at that time was unattainable. Yet in less than a decade the 
commercial transmission of power to Buffalo was inaugurated, on a scale 
then unprecedented, and by the method now universally employed for the long- 
distance transmission of power. 




Chapter VI 

Niagara does not belong to Canada or America. 
Such spots should be deemed the property of civilized 
mankind ; and nothing should be allowed to weaken 
their efficacy on the tastes, the morals and the enjoy- 
ment of all mankind. 

Andrew Reed and Thomas Matthewson 
Delegates to the 
Presbyterian Churches of America 

The history of Industrial Niagara is the history of 
one of the most vital economic developments of the 
age. More than one important industry has been 
entirely revolutionized by the application of Niagara 

Charles Mason Dow 
Commissioner of the 

State Reservation at Niagara 


Suggested in 1869, Officially Proposed in 1879, Made Free, July 15, 1885 


THE first recorded mention 1 of attention being called to "the rapidly ap- 
proaching ruin of the characteristic scenery of Niagara," was in 1869, 
when Frederick E. Church, artist, mentioned it to Frederick Law Olmsted, 
landscape architect, both Americans. During the following years to 1879 the 
desecration continued with a retarding influence upon the tourist visitations, 
and the subject of the preservation of the falls and its natural setting was 
agitated with evidence of an increasing public interest. Notwithstanding a 
vigorous and well-organized campaign, under experienced and recognized 
leadership, it was difficult to persuade the legislators at Albany that it was 
wise and prudent to purchase Niagara Falls and its surrounding property 
on the American side, for which many millions of dollars were demanded 
while the constitutional debt limit of the state permitted the increase of its 
total bonded indebtedness at that time by only $1,000,000. It required seven 
years of strenuous effort to educate and persuade the state legislators that 
the people they represented were intent upon having "Niagara made free," 
as the slogan expressed the public purpose. 

The official procedure commenced with the appeal of Lucius Robinson, 
governor of the State of New York, in his annual message of January 7, 1879, 
when he stated : 

The civil jurisdiction over the Falls of Niagara as well as the shores and waters of 
the Niagara River is divided between this State and the Province of Ontario, in Canada. 
But, in one sense, the sublime exhibition of natural power there witnessed is the property 
of the whole world. It is visited by tourists from all quarters of the globe, and it would 
seem to be incumbent upon both governments to protect such travelers from improper 
annoyances on either side. 

The commissioners of the State Survey 2 reported to the legislature in 
1879 that 

There is no American soil from which the Falls can be contemplated except at the 
pleasure of a private owner and under such conditions as he may choose to impose ; 

1 Charles M. Dow, The State Reservation at Niagara, pp. 9-15. 

2 A survey by triangulation of the entire State of New York was undertaken, commencing in 1875, in 
the creation by the legislature of the New York State Survey. A board of commissioners of seven 
citizens was appointed. The legislature of 1879 resolved: "That the Commissioners of the State Survey 
are hereby directed to enquire, consider and report what, if any, measures it may be expedient for the 
State to adopt for carrying out the suggestions contained in the annual message of the Governor with 
respect to Niagara Falls." 



none upon which the most outrageous caprices of taste may not be indulged or the most 
offensive interpolations forced upon the landscape. 

Lord Dufferin, Governor-General of Canada, acting in accord with the 
Governor of the State of New York, called the attention of the government 
of Ontario to the suggestion of an International Park, and recommended co- 
ojjeration with the State of New York to accomplish the purpose in view. 

A public memorial 1 in behalf of the preservation of Niagara Falls, ad- 
dressed to the Governor of New York and the Governor-General of Canada, 
in 1879, was signed by the highest officials and the leaders in literature, art, 
science, law and statesmanship in England and America. Rarely, indeed, has 
such a company of eminent men in different lands united in a common object. 
In this memorial occur the following sentences: 

Objects of great natural beauty and grandeur are among the most valuable gifts 
which Providence has bestowed upon our race. The contemplation of them elevates 
and informs the human understanding. They are instruments of education. They con- 
duce to the order of society. They draw together all races and thus contribute to the 
union and peace of nations. 

An increase of population of the village of Niagara Falls and the extension 
of the improvements for residences or industries along the bank of the river, 
above and below the falls, followed soon after the advent in 1877 of the 
Schoellkopfs as owners of the hydraulic canal and builders of houses and 
factories. The growth of this section of the village was naturally along or near 
the banks of the river, within sight of its rapids, its falls and its gorge. Many 
of the lots became points of vantage or of view for the land-owner or visitor, 
where the stranger was wont to become a victim and the tourist to abbreviate 
his visit. 

These commercial aggressions impressed the increasingly numerous visitors 
to the falls with the urgency of preserving the natural beauties of the upper 
and lower rapids and the falls, beyond the power of private or selfish interests 
to diminish their grandeur, impair their attractions, or decrease the pleasure 
of their contemplation. 

The grandeur and majesty of Niagara Falls are to be comprehended only 
by personal experience. As so eloquently expressed by James C. Carter, "it 
is the combined appeal to every sense and every faculty, exalting the soul 
into a higher sphere of contemplation which distinguishes this spot over all 
others. Niagara is an awful symbol of Infinite power — a vision of Infinite 
beauty — a shrine — a temple erected by the hand of the Almighty for all the 
children of men." Hence the movement to rid the spot of every touch of 
commercialism and as one of the recognized scenic wonders of the world, to set 

1 Annual Report of the State Reservation XIX, pp. 26-34. 



it apart so that all nations and peoples of all languages might come together 
and behold the scene unmolested. 

This idea soon became an organized public sentiment. Its expression in 
the press and legislature aroused the state administration to consider the 
public interests involved in the local situation. Plans were prepared for the 
purchase of the scenic property by the State of New York, to be held and 
maintained in perpetuity as a public park under the title of the Niagara 
reservation, free for the pleasure and education of the people. 

James C. Carter indicated how large a part sentiment plays in the preserva- 
tion of extraordinary natural scenery and how careful people have been for 
centuries and now are to protect such wonders as Niagara from profanation 
and exploitation. In alluding to the oracle at Delphi, Mr. Carter 1 said: 

The sentiments of men are oftentimes more powerful than their interests even, and 
history furnishes some interesting proofs of the depth of the feelings, closely akin to 
those of triumph of which we celebrate today, which connect the sentiment of reverence 
in man with great natural objects. The superstition of early Greece asserted the 
existence at Delphi of a miraculous cleft in the earth, from which bursts forth a divine 
afflatus capable of inspiring the awful responses of Apollo ; but this mere fable could 
scarcely have sufficed to render the spot the principal shrine of the favorite god. Situated 
in the most picturesque valley of Greece, at the foot of the lofty summit of Parnassus, 
it was the beauty and sublimity of the scene which enhanced the fame of the oracle. It 
was the surrounding scenery exalting the imagination and kindling the religious 
emotions, which attracted the multitude of votaries and rendered the place the center 
of the Hellenic world. But the devout sentiments of the pilgrims were offended by the 
petty exactions of the neighboring seaport of Cirrha, and the fertile plain around the 
temple excited the cupidity of the neighboring husbandmen to make continual encroach- 
ments upon the sacred precincts of the god. The evil was endured for a time ; but in 
the end Greece arose in resentment at the profanation, and in a devastating conflict of 
ten years, fitly styled the "Sacred War," destroyed the offending town and choked up 
its harbor; swept from the Circassian plain all evidences of human ownership, and thus 
vindicated the insulted majesty of the god, and asserted the right of worshipers from 
every land to approach the great oracle unmolested. 


In 1880 the State Survey Board recommended 

the extinguishment of the private titles to certain lands immediately adjacent to the 
Falls, which the State should acquire by purchase and hold in trust for the people 

In that year a bill was introduced in the legislature to authorize the selection 
of lands for a state reservation in the village of Niagara Falls. But action 
was delayed. To overcome such delay by united efforts to educate the people 

1 James C. Carter, of New York, in his oration at dedication of state reservation in 1885. 



of the state regarding the conditions at Niagara Falls and the advantages of 
the proposed state reservation, an association was organized as "The Niagara 
Falls Association," under the presidency of Howard Potter of New York, 
with a membership of more than 300, including Charles Lanier and Edward D. 
Adams, the former of whom became treasurer of the association and both, 
later, directors of The Niagara Falls Power Company. The bill providing for 
selection of lands became a law April 30, 1883. 

The commissioners appointed under this law selected a tract of 112 acres, 
in addition to 300 acres under water, comprising the entire area of 412 acres 
acquired for the state park, as shown by the following outline plan. 

The reservation 1 was described by the following resolution : 

RESOLVED, that in the judgment of this Board, it is desirable to select and locate as 
proper and necessary to be reserved for the purpose of preserving the scenery of the 
Falls of Niagara and of restoring the said scenery to its natural condition, the following 
lands situate in the village of Niagara and the county of Niagara, to wit : Goat 
Island, Bath Island, the Three Sisters, Port Island, Luna Island, Chapin Island, 
and the small islands adjacent to said islands in the Niagara River, and the bed of said 
river between said islands and the main land of the State of New York ; and also, the 
bed of said river between Goat Island and the Canadian boundary ; also a strip of land 
beginning near "Port Day" in said village, running along the shore of said river, to 
and including "Prospect Park" and the cliff and debris slope under the same .... and 
including also at the east end of said strip sufficient land not exceeding one acre for 
purpose convenient to said reservation, and also including all lands at the foot of said 
falls, and all lands in said river adjoining said islands and the other lands hereinbefore 


The commissioners of appraisement, appointed under the supplemental 
Act of 1884, met at Niagara Falls on February 23, 1884, to view the premises 
and to take testimony respecting the ownership and value of lands that it was 
desired to acquire for the state reservation. The first consideration was given 
to Goat Island, the surrounding islands and a portion of Bath Island. 

When under examination before the commissioners, Peter A. Porter stated 
that he appraised the island of 66.2 acres at $1,000,000, based upon the 
income to be derived therefrom, and exclusive of its value as a water-power 
site. Upon the completion of the appraisal, a report was made to the com- 
missioner of a total valuation of all the lands to be acquired for the park, at 
$1,433,429, although the claim of the property owners amounted to about 
$4,000,000. This appraised valuation was confirmed by the Supreme Court 
and the awards made, upon this basis of value, for the purchase by the state. 

A witness under examination expressed the opinion that Goat Island was 
the best location for hydraulic development of power, as it permitted a short 

1 See map, page 106. 



inlet-canal near its middle, with side canals to wheel-pits discharging into the 
river on each side of the island. 

The process of appraising the lands is described as follows : 

Messrs. Luther R. Marsh, of New York, Matthew Hale of Albany, and Pascal P. 
Pratt, of Buff alo, were named by the court as Commissioners of Appraisement. Having 
taken their oath of office and viewed the premises they received testimony as to value. 
Their sessions for this purpose were held continuously through the month of July, 1884, 
and a voluminous mass of testimony received. In September they met to hear the 
final arguments of counsel, and on the 20th of that month made their report, which 
was filed with the testimony taken before them on September 22, 1884, in the office 
of the clerk of Niagara County. 

In said report they awarded for the entire area of land to be taken to the respective 
owners and to all persons and corporations interested therein the total sum of 

Application on due notice was then made to the Supreme Court for the confirmation 
of this report, and on the 27th of October, 1884, an order was granted Avhereby the 
appraisers' report was in all things ratified and confirmed and the amounts awarded 
as compensation for the lands taken were ordered to be paid. This order of con- 
firmation was filed and recorded in the office of the clerk of Niagara County on 
November 25, and in the office of the Secretary of State in Albany on November 26, 1884. 

On the trial before the commissioners of appraisement a question of great importance 
arose as to the rights of the riparian owners to use the power afforded by the Niagara 
River for hydraulic purposes, and to receive compensation therefor. It was claimed 
by the proprietors of the islands and of riparian lots that they owned the bed of 
Niagara River ; and independently of this, that they had a right to use, without stint, 
the power afforded by the rapids and the falls for hydraulic purposes ; and they 
claimed that they should be compensated for the value of this vast water-power, even 
where it had not been reduced to use. Upon this basis they were prepared to present 
claims aggregating twenty or thirty millions of dollars. After full argument and care- 
ful consideration, the commissioners of appraisement rejected all such claims, except 
where the water-power had been actually reduced to use and used for a period long 
enough to create a prescriptive right. They hold (1) that Niagara River is a public 
stream, and its bed and waters belong to the state; (2) that as against the state 
private riparian owners have no right to encroach on its bed to divert its waters, or to 
subject them to the burden of manufacturing uses, unless they have acquired such right 
by grant from the state or by prescription. As two of the commissioners of appraise- 
ment first above mentioned are distinguished lawyers, their decision on these points 
is entitled to great weight. 

After the exclusion of such claims for the value of unused water-power, the claims 
of the owners of the property amounted to about four million dollars. The aggregate 
awards, as already stated, are but little more than one third of this sum. 

An act to acquire the lands selected for the proposed reservation, and an 
"Act to provide for the maintenance and management of the State Reserva- 
tion at Niagara" became laws in 1885. 




On July 15, 1885, the lands were accepted by Governor Hill on behalf of 
the state, and the reservation was formally opened to the public, under the 
control and supervision of the Commissioners of the State Reservation at 
Niagara, as defined by the laws of 1883. 

About 75,000 enthusiasts gathered at these ceremonies in Prospect Park, 
at which numerous guests from Canada besides prominent officers of the 
nation and state were present. 1 

rsru — II ?! 7/ 

State Reservation at Niagara 
From How's "Anthropology and Bibliography of Niagara Falls" 

Following the dedication of the park, the demolition of about one hundred 
and fifty buildings, that debased the scenic beauties of the falls and their 
immediate surroundings, proceeded slowly by reason of inadequate financial 
resources available. 

The revelations of impressive scenery hidden by commercial obstructions 
for more than one generation, created surprise and admiration, while the 
people acclaimed the legislative action that made the restoration possible and 

1 There were 2741 cars in the excursion trains in the season of 1887 that brought 166,000 visitors to 
Niagara Falls. The visitors crossing the bridge to Goat Island, in the fiscal year to June 30, 1924, 
amounted to 2,179,710 and for the year 1924-1925 to 2,445,772. The parking of automobiles and providing 
for the necessities of the family visitors in their travelling bungalows, have become a present problem in 
the administration of the daily affairs of the Niagara Reservation. 



Natural conditions having been finally restored, facilities were afforded 
for easy access to vantage points for rest and the quiet enjoyment of sound, 
form and color and the many expressions of creative power that are recog- 
nized in the grandeur, sublimity and wonders of Niagara Falls. And what a 
transformation was brought about and with what enlightened interest visitors 
began to view the site ! 

Here people of diverse tastes now meet and pursue their various interests 
without interruption by so-called guides or conflict with local speculators. 

The botanist explores the island, examines the lists of the flora and seeks 
the Lobelia kalmii and the Hypericum kalmianum associated in name with 
Kalm, the Swedish botanist, who visited the falls in 1750. 

1 An example of the Lobelia was found on Goat Island on September 7, 1926, by Miss Mary E. Eaton 
of the New York Botanical Gardens, who reproduced it in color. A search by her with the assistance of 
the local superintendent failed to discover any examples of the Hypericum. Apparently it had died out, 
as the superintendent had not seen any specimens for several years. Dr. John A. Torrey obtained a 
specimen of this plant either on Goat Island or the table rock at Niagara in 1842. This was published 
as a colored illustration in "The Flora of New York," 1842. Miss Eaton made a copy of this illustration 
in water-color, so that these two plants discovered and named for Kalm will be preserved as represented 
by Miss Eaton in the Niagara Museum. 



The geologist is interested in the geology, rock stratification, fossils, evi- 
dences of glacial action, and the recession of the falls. 

The historian inquires about the aborigines, the Neuter Nation, the French 
discoverers, the titles to the land and the water, the portage trails and the 
arrow-head quarry. 

The lover of nature is concerned lest the beauty and grandeur be lost by 
the diversion of water or through the self-destruction of the cataract. 

The engineer inquires as to the source, the quantity and regularity of flow 
and proposes means for controlling the water and developing and distributing 
its power for myriad uses. 

The far-seeing citizen and the statesman, concerned with the conservation of 
our natural resources, deplore the waste of energy and wonder why so little 
is being used. They ponder as to the rising price of coal and they estimate the 
true economic value of power derived from exhaustible mineral, precious for 
producing heat, compared with that from the inexhaustible and ever-renewing 
supply of water. 


The establishment of the state reservation naturally placed restrictions 
upon power development and greatly increased the difficulties and expenses 

Because of the purchase of the shore of the river by the state, new power 
developments must be made outside of the reservation. This established the 
western limitation to all projects for the diversion of water from the river 
at a point approximately 1 mile above the falls and its return to the river, 
a half mile below the falls, thus greatly adding to the expenses and other 
difficulties of power developments. These very difficulties, however, hastened 
the coming of the new order in the practical utilization of the falls. 

As the natural beauties became enhanced through the appropriate setting 
provided by the park system, it became apparent to those who most ardently 
desired to put the waters of Niagara to work, as well as to others, that no 
jarring structures or other desecrations would be tolerated within or im- 
mediately beyond the reservation. Thus the architectural features of the two 
power-houses erected above the falls were designed to give an air of dignity 
as well as stability to the place. 

Strength is also embodied in the structures to withstand the elements with- 
out and to control the forces within. 

The high banks below the falls no longer advertise the improvident use, as 
in several early instances, of only one-third of the available power ; unsightly 
structures have been replaced by rugged strongholds of power that, like the 
power-houses above the reservation, inspire confidence in the forethought of 



the management that has built for permanency of occupation, regularity of 
production, continuity of service and efficiency of operation. 

Here is the source of heat, light and power that is rendering a useful and 
important service in the industrial and domestic life of millions of people in 
the State of New York, and is contributing to electro-chemical products 
which are indispensable to the nation. 

Niagara has been developed to perform the double service of ministering 
to material prosperity and to spiritual well-being. 


The monthly visitors to Goat Island during the two years from September 1, 
1923-1924 and 1924-1925 are officially reported as follows: 












Januar} 7 





























In spite of the fact that the number of tourists who visited Niagara Falls 
during the summer of 1926 decreased at least 30 per cent, the stream of visitors 
to the Niagara Falls power-plant knew no diminution. On August 15, 1926, 
alone, 3264 tourists viewed the "great triumvirate of power" in Station 3-C, 
belonging to The Niagara Falls Power Company, taxing the maximum 
capacity of the company's facilities to receive its guests, causing a congestion 
in traffic by elevator and stairway at times. 





COMPANY, 1886 

Chapter VII 

The Evershed Scheme 1 Indicating Elevation of the 
Tunnel and Plan of the Canals 

Vertical Section Showing Several of the Wheel-pits 

Map Indicating Location and Scope of Evershed Plan 

Twelve canals supply water to 238 wheels distributed over an extended area which 
discharge through a common tunnel system 

1 See Chapter XVII, Volume II, for details of the Evershed proposals and of its modification by The 
Cataract Construction Company. 




WE come now to the inception of the project destined to develop into the 
first successful application of Niagara power on a scale commensurate 
with the magnitude of the falls and with the demands of modern industry. It 
necessitated methods then practically unknown and apparatus not yet invented 
but which were soon developed and here first used in creating a gigantic uni- 
versal power system, for operating industries of the old type and making 
possible others, new in kind and in products. The following account has been 
derived in part from some of those who participated in its early promotion. 

On February 3, 1886, there appeared in the Lockport U nion, a newspaper 
published in the city of Lockport, Niagara County, a letter to the editor from 
Thomas Evershed, of Rochester, a division engineer of the Erie Canal. The 
letter was head-lined "Engineer Evershed's Water-Power Scheme." In his 
letter Mr. Evershed discussed a proposition, which had appeared in the same 
newspaper, by Alexander Holley, a hydraulic engineer of Lockport, which 
involved the construction of a surface canal from the Niagara River about 10 
miles above its Great Falls, at or near North Tonawanda to Lockport, a 
distance of nearly 15 miles; the development there, upon the Niagara escarp- 
ment, of a great hydraulic power and the discharge of the tail-race waters 
through the "Eighteen Mile Creek" into Lake Ontario, a total distance from 
river to lake of about 25 miles. After explaining why the project was im- 
practicable, Mr. Evershed stated: 

If the people of Niagara County wish to indulge in a scheme for a magnificent water- 
power, let me point out one. 

He then outlined a plan for power development at Niagara Falls which he 
described as follows : 

Beginning at a point in the gorge below Niagara Falls just north of the state reserva- 
tion and the upper Suspension Bridge, and about twelve feet above the surface of the 
water, run a tunnel so as to strike the river above the mouth of the hydraulic canal, a 
distance of about five thousand feet, then continue the tunnel under the river's edge, say, 
five thousand six hundred feet farther, making two miles of tunnel. 

This last mentioned 5600 feet can be utilized as a tail-race for factories taking the 
water from the river close by. 



With wheel-pits sunk in the rock this water could be used with turbine wheels under 
a head of eighty to one hundred feet as is now done below the high falls at Rochester. 
A hole or holes drilled from the bottom of these wheel-pits into the tunnel below, 
will take off the water so used. 

The wheels could be placed every twenty-five feet apart if necessary, and the power 
cabled off to any point desired, running any number of mills and factories of any size, 
from the making of toothpicks to a Krupp's foundry. 

The cost of doing this can be calculated, say the tunnel is sixteen feet square or 
equal thereto, in round numbers 1,000,000 yards at $9.00 a yard, $9,000,000, say 

This scheme, it will be observed, was a reversal of previous designs. In 
the earlier projects mills on the edge of the cliff below the falls received 
their water through an open canal and utilized a portion of the fall at the 
cliff, on which buildings were erected for its use. The hydraulic development 
proposed by Mr. Evershed was to be constructed mainly as a tunnel and 
located between the lower and the upper river about 1 mile or more above the 
Great Falls. There was no departure from the familiar custom of a mill 
over a wheel-pit. It was hoped that by the arrangement proposed, the old 
difficulty at Niagara Falls "that there has not been land enough to use the 
water-power," 1 might be obviated. The long tunnel was intended to facilitate 
the location of the industrial district above the falls and beyond the limits of 
the state reservation to a site where ample facilities might be provided by 
land, dockage, streets and railroads to accommodate 238 mills of 500 horse- 
power each, a total of 119,000 horse-power. 

Mr. Evershed's letter immediately attracted the attention of Myron H. 
Kinsley, of Niagara Falls, who was then the superintendent of the Oneida 
Community, Limited, manufacturers of metal wares and one of the early 
users of water-power from the canal of the Schoellkopf company, The Niagara 
Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company. Mr. Kinsley became 
greatly interested in the project and brought it to the attention of Charles 
B. Gaskill, another local manufacturer, and one of the first users of power from 
the hydraulic canal. Colonel Gaskill quickly comprehended the possibilities of 
the Evershed plan and the two manufacturers consulted Henry S. Ware, 
of Niagara Falls, who was then engaged in the contracting business. 

After conference they consulted Thomas V. Welch, a prominent citizen 
who had been a member of the state legislature and had taken the leading 
part in securing the passage of the legislation which resulted in establishing 
the New York State Reservation at Niagara, of which, at this time, he was 
the superintendent. 

1 Testimony of Stephen M. Allen in 1884 before the commissioners of the state reservation. 



It was also deemed wise to bring the matter to the attention of William 
Caryl Ely, a lawyer at Niagara, who, with Mr. Welch, 1 had been a member for 
several years of the State Assembly, and who had recently come to the falls 
to practise his profession. He had been a resident of an interior county and 
prominent in the Democratic Party and its candidate the previous year for 
Speaker of the Assembly. He likewise had participated in the final stages 
of the effort to make "Niagara free," and was a man of wide acquaintance 
and fully cognizant of the difficulties that might be expected to be encountered 
in any such matter requiring legislative action. 

These five men in February, 1886, met at the office of the superintendent 
of the state reservation, on Bath Island, and discussed the practicability of 
Mr. Evershed's plan and its possibilities. 

Personal familiarity with the local conditions at Niagara Falls and the 
history of several unsuccessful efforts that had been made for the utilization of 
the falls, prompted the promoters of the project of 1886 to seek facilities and 
powers of the state authority under special legislation or charter that could 
not then be obtained under the general laws prevailing at that time. 

The franchise requirements in aid of new forms of industrial development 
had not at that period been publicly recognized as of sufficient importance to 
be provided for in the general laws of the state, to which incorporators of 
industrial projects had recourse for capitalization and operating powers. 

Nevertheless, projects of general public interest and novelty and of 
sufficient promise in prospective expenditure to attract the support of citizens 
of wealth and influence were at that period encouraged by special legislation 
to meet what were thought to be their special necessities. The granting of 
such special charters had then begun to attract public criticism as a bestowal 
of valuable rights without adequate compensation or the reservation of control 
by the state. 


The determination was reached by the parties above named, to proceed 
with the enterprise to procure a charter by special act of the legislature, and 
to Mr. Ely was delegated the preparation of a bill for that purpose. 

It was also decided to associate as incorporators Mr. Evershed, the author 
of the scheme, James Eraser Gluck, an attorney at Buffalo, and Michael 
Ryan, the business partner of Mr. Welch, at Niagara. 

The bill having been prepared by Mr. Ely and approved by Mr. Gluck, 
was taken to Albany by Messrs. Welch and Ely and was submitted to Peter 
A. Porter (son of Gen. Peter B. Porter), then member of the Assembly 

1 See How Niagara Was Made Free, Thomas V. Welch, 1885. 



from the Niagara Falls district. After carefully considering the matter, Mr. 
Porter approved the proposed bill and introduced it in the Assembly. 

Upon Mr. Ely then devolved the burden of managing the bill, which, in 
view of the current opposition to special legislation, provoked much discussion 
and exhibited at various times the undeniable symptoms that usually denote the 
danger of what might be termed "legislative asphyxiation." The bill probably 
would have failed had it not been for the aid of William F. Sheehan, of 
Buffalo, then beginning to loom large against the political horizon. He was 
the Democratic leader and at several critical moments actually assumed 
personal charge of the measure and made the motions necessary to secure 
its advancement. He was also powerful in its behalf in the Senate. The bill 
finally passed both houses and received the consideration, and finally the 
approval of the governor on the 31st day of March, becoming Chapter 83 of 
the laws of 1886, thus incorporating the Niagara River Hydraulic Tunnel, 
Power and Sewer Company of Niagara Falls, New York, known as the 
tunnel company. 

The corporate name, which seemed to some persons to be somewhat ex- 
traordinary and possibly to some amusing, had been chosen with great care 
and served the useful purpose of imparting to the legislation a public aspect, 
which was to be serviceable during all the time in which the incorporators 
were engaged in procuring the charter and the company in procuring the 
public and private grants of the privileges, easements and titles to lands 
necessary for its purposes. 

Meanwhile, a bill had been prepared under the auspices of the Chamber 
of Commerce of the city of Lockport, to incorporate a power and water supply 
company on the lines of the Holley plan heretofore referred to. That charter 
became a law before the charter of the tunnel company was passed. It was not 
opposed by the Niagara Falls interests, for by agreement each party rendered 
assistance to the other. 

Notwithstanding the growth of sentiment against such special laws and 
the recognition by the governor and the state legislators of this attitude of 
the public, they were not slow to appreciate the force of the argument of 
W. Caryl Ely, of Niagara, that the greatest available natural power of the 
world was carrying seaward or was wasting unutilized and without cessation, 
the wealth of an empire, and that the company attempting to harness even a 
small part of such forces required and was entitled to the encouragement of 
special authorities and powers, not provided under the general laws of the 
State of New York. 



When signing the act incorporating the tunnel company, the governor is 
said to have remarked that he would have preferred the charter to have been 
issued under the general laws, but he recognized the impracticability, and 
signed this special law, although the ink was scarcely dry upon a message he 
had sent to the legislature advising against such special enactments. 

The fact that the original charter of March 31, 1886, was amended by acts 
of special legislation on five separate occasions, of which three were each in 
consecutive years of the company's most rapid growth and greatest expendi- 
tures, is an evidence that its pioneer work was recognized by the people of the 
state and encouraged by its legislators. 

The special acts are described as follows : 

Original Charter 

Chapter 83, March 31, 1886 

Capital stock limited to $3,000,000. Corporate existence fifty years. 


Chapter 489, May 29, 1886 

May issue full paid shares in payment for land and other property necessary 
for the business. 

Chapter 109, April 5, 1889 

Additional tunnels, sewers or conduits authorized. Power given to deal in lands 
and to take and use water from Niagara River. Unpaid subscriptions to 
shares may be cancelled within one year. Bonds authorized secured by 

Chapter 253, April 23, 1891 

May acquire and hold shares in certain other companies and issue shares therefor 
and acquire title to property under condemnation law of the state. Increase 
capital stock to $10,000,000. 

Chapter 513, May 12, 1892 

Company made subject to certain provisions of the stock corporation law of the 
state. Rights to use water within prescribed limits made subject to supply 
of water and electricity for light and power, free of charges, to the State 
Niagara Reservation. Right to take water from Niagara River restricted 
to no "more water than shall be sufficient to produce two hundred thousand 
effective horse-power." 

Chapter 477, April 25, 1893 

Stockholders' liability to creditors made subject to provisions of stock corpora- 
tion law of the state. Company empowered to furnish waters of Niagara 
River not exceeding amount heretofore expressly authorized (200.000 effec- 
tive horse-power), or any power, heat or light developed therefrom in any 
civil division of the state. 



The pioneer or experimental character of the venture and the developments 
of its program of construction may be traced in the successive enactments of 
the state legislature, primarily constructive and as requested by the com- 
pany, and later restrictive by the state for the protection of its citizens as the 
possibilities of the extent of the power distribution system proposed and its 
adoption were understood and appreciated in its possible effect upon the 
beauty of the Great Falls as nature fashioned them. 

Although the company was authorized by its amended charter to acquire 
title to land in the manner specified by the condemnation law of this state, no 
use of this power has as yet been made by the company in its many negotiations 
for use or ownership of real property. The state, however, used its power of 
condemnation in procuring some of the property that was included in the 
Niagara State Reservation, reserved for the recreation of its citizens and 


The Niagara River Hydraulic Tunnel, Power and Sewer Company was 

organized at Niagara Falls in June, 1886, and commenced its operations 

under the leadership of Charles B. Gaskill and the local associates as officials, 

namely : ^ 

J Officers 

President Charles B. Gaskill 

1st Vice-president 
2nd Vice-president 
Treasurer . 
Secretary . 

Henry S. Ware 
Michael Ryan 
Francis R. Delano 
Myron H. Kinsley 
( W. Caryl Elv, Niagara Falls 
Att ° rnejS | J. Fraser Gluck, Buffalo 
Engineer Thomas Evershed, Rochester 

The capital stock book was opened and the sum of $200,000 was subscribed 

as follows : , Shares 

Francis R. Delano 167 

W.Caryl Ely 167 

Thomas Evershed 167 

Benjamin Flagler 167 

Charles B. Gaskill 166 

James Fraser Gluck 167 

Myron H. Kinsley 166 

A. Augustus Porter 166 

Peter A. Porter 167 

Michael Ryan 166 

Henry S. Ware 167 

Thomas V. Welch 167 

$200,000 par value of 2000 




In the meantime, the plans of the company were being matured; a pro- 
spectus was in preparation, and preliminary conferences and correspondence 
were being carried on with engineers, financiers and manufacturers by those 
connected with the enterprise. In August, 1886, the printed prospectus' 
made its appearance. At a meeting held August 25, 1886, the president re- 
ported that he had placed a book for stock subscription at the Manufacturers 
and Traders' Bank at Buffalo, subject to a commission of five per cent on all 
subscriptions obtained, and that the president of the bank had evinced a very 
great interest from the beginning in the plans of the company. Thomas V. 
Welch and Benjamin Flagler were appointed a committee to arrange for 
opening stock subscription books at the offices of bankers in New York and 
Boston. The effort was to obtain subscriptions in New York for $500,000, in 
Boston for $500,000, in Buffalo for $200,000, and in Niagara Falls for 
$200,000, a total of $1,400,000, and the secretary was directed to ascertain 
what arrangements, if any, could be made to obtain subscriptions in Minne- 
apolis, Chicago and London. 

Charles B. Gaskill, the president of the company, communicated with 
many manufacturers of the country and stimulated by him and his associates, 
Mr. Evershed, who had been made the engineer of the company, com- 
municated with such engineers as James B. Francis, of Lowell, Clemens 
Herschel, then of Holyoke, and J. T. Fanning, of Minneapolis, all hydraulic 
engineers of high reputation who had been successful in the development of 
the largest water-powers then in use in this country. Mr. Evershed's report, 
presented to the board of trustees at its meeting July 1, 1886, showed that 
he had devoted a great deal of labor to the preparation of the plans, and that 
they had been submitted by him to Elnathan Sweet, state engineer and 
surveyor, who on July 19, had approved them in a letter to President Gaskill 
as shown in the prospectus of the company. On September 9, the board of 
trustees of the village of Niagara Falls passed resolutions formally con- 
senting to the construction, operation and maintenance of the tunnel under- 
neath the village. 

That it would be difficult to secure the necessary money by stock subscrip- 
tion was apparent to all of the incorporators. Nevertheless, it was determined 
to endeavor to obtain the capital in this manner if possible. It would at least 
serve a useful purpose, it was claimed, in giving to the enterprise a great deal 
of desirable publicity. 

1 Water Power at Niagara Falls to be Successfully Utilized. Company prospectus, with maps, 1S86. 
First edition. 






and Directors 


"Gaskill Company" 


Niagara River 
Hydraulic Tunnel, 
Power and Sewer 



Negotiations were opened with the leading men of Buffalo, as well as those 
at Niagara Falls, but without success. The subject was also introduced among 
various bankers and others of New York City and Boston, all of whom were 
disinclined to become financially interested in the stock of the company. 

The prospectus of 1886 contained the following paragraph under the 
subject title of 


It is conceded by leading practical electricians that it would be entirely practicable 
now to light the city of Buffalo (distance 20 miles) with power furnished by Niagara 
Falls, and the opinion is rife among scientific men that ways will be found in the near 
future for transmitting this power to much greater distances and for using it in many 
new ways. Should this be done, the unlocking of this great natural store-house of power, 
* Deceased 



which is proposed in this prospectus, will bear an importance not exceeded by any 
private or public work in the State. It cannot fail to interest every one. 

An application has already been received from a manufacturer in Birmingham, 
England, for an opportunity to test his apparatus for conveying power by means of 
compressed air. 

President Gaskill had already taken up the matter of possible electrical 
development with Gardiner C. Sims, of Armington & Sims Engine Company, 
Providence, Rhode Island, who was born in Niagara Falls and whose mother 
and brother were at the time still residing there in their old home, to which 
Mr. Sims occasionally returned. Mr. Sims was a co-worker with Thomas 
A. Edison, and in the engine works at Providence constructed the engines 

* Deceased 






and Directors 

of THE 

"Gaskill Company" 


Niagara River 
Hydraulic Tunnel, 
Power and Sewer 



that were used in the Edison experiments and developments. As early as 
November, 1886, Mr. Sims informed Colonel Gaskill that Mr. Edison had 
investigated the possibility of transmitting electrical power from Niagara 
Falls to the city of Buffalo, and had gone as far as to make estimates of costs 
and efficiency. 


Messrs. Welch and Ely, who during their legislative experience had become 
well acquainted with Francis Lynde Stetson, a prominent lawyer of New 
York City, determined to talk the matter over with him, and Mr. Welch went 
to see him. Mr. Stetson manifested a great deal of interest in the matter in a 
preliminary way and encouraged Mr. Welch to feel that he would give it 

* Deceased 



careful investigation. Nothing definite resulting from this, President Gaskill 
opened negotiations with Raymond S. Perrin, of New York, who stated that 
he had business relations with T. Gilbert Bullock, of London, who was the 
representative of an English syndicate, and requested that he be given an 
opportunity to enlist the interest of Mr. Bullock and his friends. Authority 
being given Mr. Perrin, he took the matter up with energy and in December 
appeared at a meeting of the tunnel company at Niagara Falls and presented 
definite proposals for a contract of option to purchase all the rights and 
property of the company on behalf of Mr. Bullock, as the representative of 
an English syndicate. A resolution was adopted authorizing President Gaskill 
to make a contract to sell Mr. Perrin, or his assigns, all the company's property 
rights, privileges and franchises for $650,000, payable in installments, at the 
office of the Farmers Loan and Trust Company of New York, on or before 
the following dates: 

February 1, 1887 $100,000 

April 1, 1887 100,000 

June 1, 1887 178,000 


Balance in contracts for land 

to be assumed 272,000 

Total $650,000 

Contingent upon the faithful performance of the contract for sale, a con- 
tract was authorized granting to Raymond S. Perrin for ten years the right 
to lease 125 mill-sites to be selected by him, of an average size of 100 by 200 
feet, with 500 horse-power available for use thereon, for the annual rental of 
$5 per horse-power, payable from the time the mills were put in operation. 

Authority was also voted in favor of a contract with Raymond S. Perrin 
for the construction of the main and cross tunnels, conduits, shafts, raceways, 
bulkheads, masonry and appurtenances. 

The resignations of officers and trustees and the surrender of all rights of 
incorporators, effective upon performance of contract of sale by Mr. Perrin, 
were also agreed upon, prepared and signed. 

About the first of December, the contracts with Mr. Perrin were signed 
and deposited in escrow with the Farmers Loan and Trust Company of 
New York. 

The annual report of the company, published as required by the state 
laws, January 18, 1887, in daily papers, declared its existing debts to be 
$700, and that its capital stock was $200,000, all subscribed, but of which no 
portion had been paid in. This report could not have been other than detri- 
mental to the pending financial negotiations in London. 



At this stage the matter had become intensely interesting. The advices from 
England were frequent and showed that the Bullock syndicate had put up a 
considerable amount of money for the development of its plans, which resulted 
in the incorporation in London, of the Niagara Falls Hydraulic Tunnel, 
Power and Sewer Company, Limited, with an authorized capital stock of 
£1,000,000 and with a very distinguished board of directors. It was stated at 
Niagara that the English syndicate had provided £20,000 for expenses so far 
as might be found necessary by its representatives in their investigation of 
the project. 

The London prospectus, printed, but not issued, quoted the reports of the 
American engineers, Elnathan Sweet, New York State Surveyor, and 
Thomas Evershed, division engineer, New York State Canals. The reports 
also of English engineers were quoted as follows: 

May 31, 1887 Jabez Church, Past-president, Society of 

Engineers, London 

I am of opinion that the proposed works could without doubt be successfully carried 

June 17, 1887 G. N. Abernethy, Member, Institution of 

Civil Engineers 

I can see nothing in this scheme which in my opinion presents any extraordinary 
difficulty in construction. The scheme taken as a whole seems ably designed and the 
details well considered, the power being also well distributed and economically arranged. 

November 15, 1887 Hazzard and Tyrrell, Members, Institution 

of Civil Engineers 

The scheme as laid out by Mr. Evershed is simple and well designed and would no 
doubt realize, as motive power, the results expected from it. To assure continuity of 
operation these engineers strongly recommend that all the tunnels should be lined 
throughout in the most substantial and permanent manner. This would increase the 
estimated costs to $600,000. 

It is noteworthy that none of the reports of the English engineers mention 
recent visits to Niagara Falls as the basis of their information. 
The jirospectus also contained the following : 

Sir William Siemens pointed out, according to the London Standard of December, 
1886, that if all the coal produced by all the mines in the world were used for raising 
steam and applied in the most economical manner, it would not create a force equal 
to the Falls of Niagara. What however principally struck Sir W. Siemens was the 
power of the Falls to drive dynamos, by which power could be conveyed by electricity 
to a distance, and the electric light supplied to all the towns of the State of New York. 

When the original negotiations with Mr. Bullock assumed form, they 
began to move more rapidly, and it was arranged that cablegrams should be 



sent to the Canadian side of the river and then delivered to the company on the 
American side by messenger from the telegraph office on the Canadian side. 
This was in accordance with the confidential conduct of all these financial 
negotiations, which were attended with great secrecy. About the middle of 
January, 1887, a cablegram arrived announcing that the English syndicate 
was a success and that the payment of the first $100,000 would be made on 
February 1, 1887, the due-day therefor. Messrs. Ely, Gaskill, Kinsley and 
Welch met at one of their homes and indulged in mutual congratulations. 
One may not even imagine their chagrin when they discovered that the cable- 
gram had been sent by mistake to the telegraph office of the New York Central 
Railroad upon the American side. The New York Central agent, immedi- 
ately sensing its importance, sought out a friend, who possessed both courage 
, and capital, and together they had ridden the surrounding territory and 
secured options upon a great deal of land, so that when the quartet of pro- 
moters attempted to secure land for the company and themselves, "the cat 
was out of the bag" and the prices of all lands anywhere in the vicinity of 
Niagara Falls had advanced greatly, never to come down to the former 
value. By reason of what he had done the agent lost his position, but he im- 
mediately opened up a successful real estate business and became independent 
of railroad employment. His partner in the land option campaign is said 
eventually to have realized what to him was a fortune by the operation. As a 
result, the tunnel company and its discreet promoters paid comparatively high 
prices for lands purchased thereafter. 


Before the arrival of the date set for the first $100,000 payment, there came 
a hitch in the proceedings; the payment was not made and the time was 
extended. On March 24th, at a meeting of the company, President Gaskill 
stated that George Bliss, a lawyer of New York, had been retained on behalf 
of some persons interested in the English tunnel company to make an ex- 
amination of all contracts and other actions taken by the Niagara River 
Hydraulic Tunnel, Power and Sewer Company, and had applied through 
attorney William B. Rankine, of New York, for additional papers. This is 
the first recorded mention of Mr. Rankine's name in connection with the 

Mr. Rankine stated that Mr. Bliss was making a critical examination of 
the papers on deposit with the Farmers Loan and Trust Company on behalf of 
the London and Westminster Bank, the bankers of the English company. 

The report of Mr. Bliss made an unfavorable impression in London and 
caused the syndicate to withdraw from what was considered a "risky and 



unwise investment." Thereupon the syndicate surrendered its optional con- 
tract, provided for its expenditures, about $20,000 it was reported, and dis- 


The five original promoters of the enterprise were greatly disappointed at 
the failure of the London negotiations. At the commencement of their efforts 
they had high expectations of a successful project, creditable to their local 
position, advantageous to the community, and profitable to all parties inter- 
ested therein. Now they were in the slough of despondency. But under the 
patient and persistent leadership of Charles B. Gaskill they determined to con- 
tinue their efforts to finance the project, even though they might be obliged to 
abandon all expectations of personal profit as the originators of the project, 
in order to make a success of the undertaking. 

An assessment of $150 each was voted by the ten trustees present at a meet- 
ing held January 25, 1888, to meet a note at the bank and other current 

About this time A. Augustus Porter died, and his son, Alexander J. Porter, 
returned to the falls to live and look after the interests of his father's estate. 
He became the secretary of the company in place of George N. Miller, who 
resigned after having served well in that capacity from the inception of the 
company and without condensation. Alexander J. Porter was elected a 
trustee, June 2, 1888. 

After the failure of negotiations with the English syndicate, an effort was 
made to interest the financial group in control of the New York Central 
Railroad through their counsel, Daniel H. McMillan, of Buffalo, to whom 
options were given on two separate occasions. Here again was disappoint- 
ment, and loss of time and money. 

As it was believed that the familiarity of the great public with the name 
Niagara and what it represented in water-power going to waste, might be 
utilized to secure the necessary capital, books of subscription to the capital 
stock of the company were again opened, and the plans were exhibited in 
various cities, but this method was not successful. 

Prior to the English negotiations of 1886-1887, William B. Rankine, whose 
family resided in the western part of the state, and who was familiar with 
affairs at Niagara Falls, presented the subject of the improvement of the 
Niagara water-power to Francis Lynde Stetson, with whom he had been 
associated in the office of the Corporation Counsel of that city. 

The passage of the Act of 1886, authorizing the Niagara River Hydraulic 
Tunnel, Power and Sewer Company, by special charter, to utilize the power 
of Niagara Falls, attracted much attention. The efforts made to finance the 



company in 1887 in the English as well as the American money markets 
were well understood in financial and engineering circles, and their failures 
deplored, particularly in the western part of the State of New York, where 
great advantages were expected from the utilization of the falls, in increase 
in values and in the population that would be attracted to that section by the 
prospect of inexhaustible and never-failing power, at prices below those pre- 
vailing for power as then produced from coal. 

The opinion became current in Niagara and Buffalo that the Evershed 
plans for the power development were not adapted to the natural conditions 
of the locality, especially from the point of view of the financier, who could not 
be assured of current income upon an investment of large and doubtful 
amount and unknown risk that had been previously declined by numerous 
engineers and practical men who were familiar with the local surroundings. 

It was stated that the original promoters of the tunnel company, after 
five years of strenuous and loyal co-operation, expressed the opinion, in ex- 
planation of the causes of their lack of success, that the project dealt with 
hydraulic forces far greater than man had ever before attempted to control. 
Men of experience and capital, it is said, warned investors that the project 
was visionary and unsafe. 

Although local pride prompted the exhaustion of all possible efforts to 
promote the enterprise, the results were discouraging. The population and 
property of that community were comparatively small, and its business activi- 
ties were conservative and mostly inherited. 

The promoters of the enterprise were not capitalists. They were devoted 
admirers of the falls, which they considered a public asset of great value. 
They were confident believers that the practical people of the nation would 
eventually utilize the great force that was hourly wasted. They were loyal to 
the interests of their neighbors. They cherished hopes of accomplishment and 
fortune, but through the anxieties of prolonged and unsuccessful negotiations 
at home and abroad, they had acquired experience and were prepared, if 
necessary, to surrender expectation of profit if they might achieve their pur- 
pose to bring prosperity to the community in which they lived. 

It was true that local men, who should best understand the value of the 
opportunities, had examined the merits of the enterprise as presented and 
declined to invest or recommend. But the promoters of Niagara Falls had 
faith that somehow — but they could not then conceive in what manner — 
other people's money and experience might accomplish what was so greatly 
desired as a stimulus to local prosperity. Engineering and financial circles at 
home and abroad had considered the project and declined. The name Niagara 



had failed to conjure capital for its control, but the falls still remained as a 
delight and wonder, while its observers pondered its problems of nature and 
entertained dreams of science applied. 


It was under these conditions that the Niagara promoters again sought to 
interest Francis Lynde Stetson, of New York, in their project. Mr. Rankine 
resumed his negotiations of the previous year on behalf of the tunnel company 
with Mr. Stetson, who gave attention to the subject from time to time during 
the following year, and on June 2, 1888, acquired an option to purchase the 
capital stock of the company. 

Further investigations followed during the year and the option was sur- 
rendered in December, 1888. 

It was then determined to attempt to place an issue of the company's 
bonds. Messrs. W. Caryl Ely, Henry S. Ware and James Fraser Gluck 
were ajDpointed a committee to consider the plan therefor. They reported at 
a meeting held December 15, 1888, in favor of an issue of $2,500,000 bonds 
bearing interest at five per cent per annum and maturing in 20 years. The 
committee also recommended that "proposals for construction and trans- 
mission by electricity be obtained." 

President Gaskill reported to this meeting the names of persons from 
whom he had secured offers to take power to an aggregate of 12,900 horse- 
power for the gross amount of $124,500 annually, and that in addition, a 
company would be formed at Tonawanda to take power which would yield 
$5000 per annum. 

At this meeting Colonel Gaskill presented a draft of a revised prospectus 
and a report from Mr. Evershed, the engineer of the company, dated 
December, 1888, giving details of estimates of dimensions, locations and costs 
of tunnels and cross tunnels, and necessary lands and the location thereof. 
A committee was authorized to prepare and present at the next meeting of the 
trustees, a proof of the new prospectus. This was prepared but not issued. 

In his report, Mr. Evershed discussed the costs of lands and amounts of 
land and power that would probably be required by lessees, cited the sug- 
gestions of Mr. Fanning concerning the same, and said "we must have all the 
land up to Elizabeth Street." 

Mr. Ely presented a report to this meeting of December, on the condition 
of the right-of-way for the tunnel under the village of Niagara Falls showing 
valid releases from all property owners excepting the New York Central and 
Hudson River Railroad Company, The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and 
Manufacturing Company, and five individual land owners, three of whom 



were ready to sign their deeds and from all of whom titles were eventually 

On December 22, 1888, a meeting of the trustees was held, and Messrs. 
Gaskill, Kinsley and Gluck were constituted a committee to go to New York 
and negotiate with persons making a proposal that had been forwarded by 
Mr. Rankine. These negotiations were unsuccessful. 

On January 5, 1889, a resolution was passed appointing Mr. Rankine as 
incorporator, he agreeing to accept an equal share with the other stockholders 
in lieu of other payment for "his legal services past and to come." 

Meanwhile there were no outward evidences of the interest or efforts of 
Messrs. Rankine and Stetson, and the "Great Enterprise" seemed again to 
languish. Thus another winter, 1888-1889, wore away. But in Mr. Stetson 
the leaven was evidently finally working, for in February he suggested an 
amendment to the charter, clarifying and enlarging the rights to take and 
use the waters of the river and to locate and construct works therefor. 

The measure was introduced in the Assembly on the 26th of February and in 
the Senate on the day following. Its management was entrusted to Mr. Ely. 
After some vicissitudes it was finally passed in both houses April 5, and on 
the same day received the approval of Governor David B. Hill. 

On May 10, William B. Rankine made a statement at a meeting of the 
stockholders regarding his negotiations with Mr. Stetson. 

At this time it was resolved at a meeting of the trustees that the unpaid 
portion of the subscription to the capital stock of the company be released 
and three shares, fully paid, be issued to each stockholder, representing the 
$300 cash paid upon each subscription and used for current expenses. 


Thereafter matters between the Niagara and the New York interests were 
actively taken up. On July 5, 1889, Messrs. Stetson, Rankine and Edward 
A. Wickes, the latter recognized as a "Vanderbilt man," appeared at a meet- 
ing of the tunnel company board of directors held at the office of Superin- 
tendent Welch in the State Reservation at Niagara, and plans were then 
outlined by Mr. Stetson for the formation of a new corporation to be entitled 
The Cataract Construction Company, that would prepare a method of de- 
veloping the power and act as the financial agent of The Niagara Falls 
Power Company. A preliminary agreement was presented under which the 
two companies would proceed towards the final execution of the project by 
The Cataract Construction Company as the contractor and representative of 
the tunnel company about to be acquired. 



The draft contract as presented gave evidence of careful preparation and 
was thoroughly considered at the morning meeting and at adjourned meetings 
in the afternoon and evening and until an early hour the following morning. 
It was amended upon the motion of the tunnel company directors in a great 
many of its details and finally approved and executed, provisionally, by both 
parties with the understanding that a fair copy should be prepared for formal 

The contract provided that the name of the Niagara River Hydraulic 
Tunnel, Power and Sewer Company of Niagara Falls, New York, should 
be changed, at its expense, to The Niagara Falls Power Company. This was 
done under authority of the meeting of the trustees, September 19, 1889, and 
by a proceeding under the general laws of New York, conducted by Mr. Ely 
and published November 11, 1889. 

The preliminary contract contained a proviso that The Cataract Construc- 
tion Company "would on or before the first day of December, 1889, enter into 
a proper and formal construction contract, of which the performance shall be 
secured by subscriptions, satisfactory to the board of directors of the Niagara 
company, to the cataract company's treasury to the amount of at least 
$600,000 (a) to construct the first section of the tunnel; and (b) to pay into 
the treasury of the Niagara company upon or before the first day of January 
1892, the sum of one hundred thousand dollars." 

As the first day of December, 1889, drew near, the indications increased 
that further delay was to be expected, and on November 28th, a letter was 
received from Mr. Rankine asking an extension of thirty days. The directors 
of the Niagara company took no action upon the request and asked Mr. 
Rankine to meet them. On the 30th of November the board met again with 
Mr. Rankine present, with the result that an extension was granted to 
January 1. On the preceding day Messrs. Stetson and Rankine visited the 
falls and obtained a further extension until February 1, with a modification 
of the preliminary contract of July 5, 1889, so as to include additional work 
and compensation to The Cataract Construction Company of both bonds 
and shares of a par value of $2,200,000 each. At this time the purchase of 
Grass Island for $2000 was authorized, as well as an agreement of the 
preceding day granting to the Niagara company the right to construct 
its tunnel across and under the hydraulic canal of The Niagara Falls Hy- 
draulic Power and Manufacturing Company, for $20,000 payable in cash 
and bonds. 

Again, on January 27, the period of execution of the formal Niagara- 
cataract contract was extended to March 31, and later to April 1, 1890. 



On February 18, 1890, the trustees of the Niagara company authorized the 

Purchases of land from twenty different owners for the total sum of . . . $ 291,500 

Increase of capital stock to 2,000,000 

Issue of 40-year five per cent first mortgage bonds 6,000,000 

Call of stockholders in meeting, March 8, 1890, to authorize the issues of capital stock 
and bonds proposed. 

The entire share capital was represented at this meeting, and the issues of 
stocks and bonds proposed were unanimously authorized by the twelve 

Early in March, Mr. Ely called the attention of Mr. Stetson to several 
important reasons why no further options should be given and why the pro- 
posed formal contract should be executed without further delay, among 
which were the following: A commission on statutory revision had reported 
to the legislature of 1890 and was pressing for passage bills with reference 
to the general laws of the state governing corporations which contained 
provisions that Mr. Stetson and Victor Morawetz, who was now acting with 
Mr. Stetson in the capacity of counsel, deemed inimical to the plans of the 
Niagara and cataract companies. 

In the correspondence that ensued, Mr. Ely and the president and secretary 
of the Niagara company convinced Mr. Stetson of the necessity of proceeding 
without further delay to make the formal contract. Into this decision entered 
strongly the fact that all of the optional land contracts hinged upon the 
execution of the formal contract on or before April 1, 1890. 

The Cataract Construction Company became the agent of The Niagara 
Falls Power Company "in the negotiation of leases and contracts, the em- 
ployment of operating forces for its plant, and the collection of its accounts 
for rentals due under its leases." 


The financial negotiations of the Gaskill Tunnel and Sewer Company may 
be summarized as follows : 

The capital subscribed by the trustees in 1886 amounted to $200,000, of 
which $3600 (one and eight tenths per cent) was paid in cash. In 1889, the 
unpaid balance was cancelled and the subscribers released therefrom. 

The contracts for purchase of lands and various rights were mainly optional 
agreements, with prolonged periods for their determination, but mostly on 
or before April 1, 1890. 

The first efforts to procure capital were directed to the principal financial 
centers with much formality in opening books of subscription to the share 



capital of the company, and with personal solicitations where the Great Falls 
were well known, but no encouragements to expect subscription to the stock 
were received. 

The English negotiation, under auspices thought most favorable, was 
authorized for the sale of the rights, franchises and shares, for the sum of 
$650,000, and a tunnel company was formed in London to facilitate the 
preliminary examinations and to provide for the expenses thereof. After 
several months of investigation, and the preparation of a financial prospectus, 
the contracts of option were surrendered and the business declined. 

Then followed numerous efforts in the United States for the sale of bonds 
secured by a first mortgage upon the franchise, rights and privileges acquired. 
These were not successful. 

The promoters of the Gaskill tunnel enterprise were discouraged. Options 
and payment on contracts for land were maturing. The sale of the entire 
property and rights of the company appeared to be the only way to avoid 
financial embarrassment. 

Negotiations for a sale of the company with all its assets had been pending 
with Francis Lynde Stetson, and continued at intervals for several years to 
April 1, 1890, when a formal agreement was made between The Niagara 
Falls Power Company and The Cataract Construction Company for purchase 
by the latter of all the capital stock of The Niagara Falls Power Company 
and for the payment of certain liabilities for services and contracts for lands 
and rights-of-way. 

Payments were authorized in cash and in bonds as follows : 

In payment for the entire capital stock of The Niagara Falls Power Company 
and the services of its trustees, officers and counsel, to January 1, 1892, in 
first mortgage bonds of the Niagara company . $174,000 

For right-of-way under and across the canal of the hydraulic power company 
as provided in the agreement of December 31, 1889 ($5000 previously 


In payment for lands under contract 
in bonds . 



in cash 

Total Bonds . 

. $376,000 
. 106,500 

Total Payments 

. $182,500 

Constituting a purchase of the 

Entire capital stock at 

Lands, purchased and under contract 
Right-of-way for discharge tunnel . 

15,000 $482,500 


Following is the distribution of purchase price : 

Francis R. Delano, trustee, as reimburse- 
ment of his disbursements for account 

of the company $ 4,000 

W. Caryl Ely ' 12,000 

Estate of Thomas Evershed, deceased . . 15,000 

Benjamin Flagler 12,000 

Charles B. Gaskill 14,000 

James Fraser Gluck's assignee 12,000 

Myron H. Kinsley 12,000 

Raymond S. Perrin, for services in English 

negotiations 5,000 

Estate of A. Augustus Porter, deceased . . 10,000 

Peter A. Porter 12,000 

William B. Rankine, for services to and in- 
cluding June I, 1889 14,000 

Michael Ryan 12,000 

Francis Lynde Stetson, for services prior 

to June 1, 1889 16,000 

Henry S. Ware 12,000 

Thomas V. Welch 12,000 

Total Payable ix Boxds 


Although The Cataract Construction Company thus acquired the owner- 
ship of the entire capital stock of The Niagara Falls Power Company, it was 
considered good business policy to retain publicly, as well as privately, the 
association and co-operation of the local representatives on the board of 
trustees of the Niagara company, while the New York stockholders were 
represented by the board of directors of The Cataract Construction Company, 
particularly as the latter company was engaged in the formulation and ex- 
ecution of the Niagara company's plans of construction, operation and finance. 



During the ten-year period from July 5, 1889, when the preliminary and 
optional contract was made with The Niagara Falls Power Company for the 
acquisition of its shares and assets by The Cataract Construction Company, 
until the contract of May 31, 1899, between the same parties was executed, 
by which all contractual relations were cancelled, all the nine trustees of the 
Niagara company were selected from stockholders identified with Niagara 
Falls and its vicinity, with the exceptions of the election of Coleman Sellers, 
of Philadelphia, in 1893, as president and chief engineer, and of Arthur H. 
Hasten, of New York, in 1896, in place of Frank A. Dudley, resigned. The 
following trustees served upon the board during this period: 

Francis R. Delano 
W. Caryl Ely . . 
Renjamin Flagler 
Charles R. Gaskill 
Myron H. Kinsley 
A. Augustus Porter 
Peter A. Porter . 
Henry S. Ware . 
Thomas V. Welch 
Alexander J. Porter 
* Deceased 




- 1893 



Lauren W. Pettebone . 

. 1892 




De Lancey Rankine . 

. 1892 

- 1893 



Frank A. Dudley . . 

. 1892 

- 1895 



Coleman Sellers . 

. 1893 




William S. Humbert . 

. 189-t 

- 1898 



Charles A. Sweet . 

. 1894 




Edmund S. Wheeler . . 

. 1895 




Arthur H. Hasten . . 

. 1896 

- 1898 


- 1893 



By the purchase of the tunnel company, the responsibility for the enter- 
prise was assumed by The Cataract Construction Company, representing 
the subscribers to its construction fund and the owners of its capital stock. 

Charles B. Gaskill - 

The Niagara Falls Power Company 1 
Colonel United States Army 
Served with Distinction in Civil 
and Spanish-American Wars 

It was this company that made the investigations in this country and abroad 
as to the state of development of the several arts for the production, trans- 
mission and use of power from falling water. 

1 Incorporated 1886 as Niagara River Hydraulic Tunnel, Power and Sewer Company; name changed, 
1889, to The Niagara Falls Power Company. 



The results of these researches, the organizations adopted for scientific 
guidance, the decisions made and the constructions carried out, are described 
in the following chapters. 


Colonel Gaskill was honored by the highest positions in public service that 
his friends of the community could give. He maintained his interest in the 
military affairs of the state. Transportation and manufacturing, however, 
represented his principal investments. These increasingly demanded his at- 
tention as the village of Niagara Falls increased in population, activity and 

As president of the power company from its organization of 1886 to 1894, 
several years after he and his associates sold their interests, he brought his 
experience of about fourteen years in manufacturing with water-power from 
Niagara River and his broader experience with men of large affairs in national 
and other activities, to the introduction and development of the Evershed 

The project of the hydraulic canal proposed by Judge Augustus Porter 
by circular of January, 1847, reached a consummation some thirty years later, 
and Colonel Gaskill has the record of being the first user of the water of the 
hydraulic canal for industrial purposes. 

To have been connected with the early stages of each of the two projects, 
in one as first user of power, in the other as leading promoter and president, 
which were merged in 1918 into the consolidation entitled The Niagara 
Falls Power Company, is the unique distinction which belongs to Col. Charles 
B. Gaskill of Niagara Falls. 

Gen. Nelson A. Miles, under whom he served, wrote of him: 

Colonel Gaskill was one of the best officers and noblest of men that I have ever known. 
A more thorough, conscientious, honest patriot never wore the uniform of the United 
States Army. His whole heart and mind were interested in the welfare of his command 
and in the service of his country. Whatever command he had, whether a company or 
regiment, it was in the best possible condition. The service had few, if any, more efficient 




Here is a power almost illimitable ; constantly 
wasted, yet never diminished — constantly exerted, yet 
never exhausted — gazed upon, admired, wondered at, 
but never hitherto controlled. 

From the Prospectus of the 

Niagara Falls Hydraulic Company 
Caleb S. Woodhull, President 


Chapter VIII 

To gather the streams from waste and to draw 
from them energy, labor without brains, and so to save 
mankind from toil that it can be spared, is to supply 
what next to intellect is the very foundation of all our 
achievement and all our welfare. 

Justice Holmes 

U. S. Supreme Couht 



IN the summer of 1889 the story of the century-old attempts to harness the 
falls of Niagara finds the new tunnel project in the hands of Francis L. 
Stetson and Edward A. Wickes of New York and William B. Rankine of 
Niagara Falls. They had acquired the right to purchase the Niagara River 
Hydraulic Tunnel, Power and Sewer Company (organized in 1886 by the 
Gaskill group ) which proposed to develop power in accordance with the plan 
and advices of Thomas Evershed and they had organized The Cataract Con- 
struction Company of New Jersey, for that purpose. Various attempts to 
finance the project had proved futile, and in August they offered a half 
interest in the enterprise to Winslow, Lanier & Company, New York bankers. 
Edward D. Adams, 1 a partner in the firm, was delegated to conduct an in- 
vestigation to determine the merits of the proposals. 

The project as outlined in the preliminary plans of Thomas Evershed, 
dated July 1, 1889, and described in the preceding chapter, was for the 
formation of an industrial town. Mills and factories within an area several 
hundred yards wide and extending along and up the river for a mile and a half 
were to be driven by individual water-wheels supplied from a dozen inlet chan- 
nels or short canals. The water from the wheels at the bottom of the various 
wheel-pits would discharge through short tail-race tunnels into a main dis- 
charge tunnel about 2^ miles long emptying into the lower river. It was 
proposed that this tunnel should be adequate for the discharge from 238 
wheels, each supplying 500 horse-power to a single factory, or a total of 
119,000 horse-power. 

It was seen at once that the novelty and magnitude of the project intro- 
duced unsolved and far-reaching problems. For what purposes and where 
could so large an amount of power be used? The population of Niagara 
Falls in 1890 was only about 5000. 

Was the scheme of building up a new industrial center for using power that 
"far exceeds the combined available power in use at Holyoke, Lowell, Minne- 
apolis, Cohoes, Lewiston and Lawrence" a promising venture? Was it wise 
to construct a costly tail-race tunnel instead of following the old method by 
employing a long inlet hydraulic canal? 

1 His connection with the enterprise has heen continuous during the thirty-seven years intervening 
between the original investigation and the completion of this history. 



Was the old plan of placing the mill over or near its own water-wheel 
adapted to a project of unprecedented magnitude, or could power produced 
at one place be supplied to several customers from a consumer system as 
was the practise with gas and water and electric light? 

Could the power be distributed locally or transmitted to a considerable 
distance by shafts or belts or cables, by compressed air or water pressure, or 
would electricity which was doing wonderful things in a small way be capable 
of handling power on a scale and over distances which far exceeded what had 
been accomplished? 

Could Buffalo, population about 255,000, the far-distant Mecca for Niagara 
power, be reached by any practicable method ? 

In short, the inquiry involved broad questions as to the best general engineer- 
ing plan for power development at Niagara ; the practicability of the proposed 
system employing many inlets and many wheels with a common discharge tun- 
nel; the transmission of power over moderate or considerable distances — all of 
which meshed into the questions how and where the proposed enormous 
amount of power could be so used as to justify the undertaking financially. 


The proposed discharge tunnel was a practical solution of the specific 
problem presented by the conditions then existing at Niagara Falls. 

It will be seen by the following plan of Niagara Falls at that date, that 
the State of New York had acquired ownership of the land and its riparian 



water-rights extending along the river bank from the Great Falls, 1 mile 
upstream to Port Day, and on the bank below the Great Falls to the founda- 
tions of the Suspension Bridge. All of this property, with Goat Island and 
other small islands, comprising the state reservation, from which industrial 
establishments had been removed and permanently excluded. 

Port Day and its so-called hydraulic canal, supplying the factories located 
at the end of the canal basin of the Schoellkopf company, as shown on the ac- 
companying illustration, had been constructed many years before this period. 
The village of Niagara Falls, had been established mainly within the triangle 
formed by the upper and lower river and the hydraulic canal. The terrain 
within the triangular space was unavailable for power developments because, 
owing to its permanent inhabitants, it was practically impossible to acquire 
in this area the right for a second water intake and canal, or sufficient land for 
industrial improvement. 

These conditions, and considerations of economy in capital expenditures, 
required a power company seeking a location to place its water intake above 
the reservation and as near as possible to Port Day on the eastern side, and 
its raceway, or its water-wheel discharge, by the shortest line to the lower 
river where discharge could be made immediately below the Suspension 

A tunnel from the river bank east of Port Day to a point below and adjoin- 
ing the bridge foundation thus became the only practical solution of these diffi- 
culties, and the large tract of sparsely occupied land between the river and 
the lines of the New York Central and the Erie railroads, extending up the 
river to and beyond Gill Creek to Connor's Island, recommended itself as the 
natural location for a new industrial community. 


The Evershed plan 1 made provision for 238 mills, each supplied with power 
by its own 500 horse-power water-wheel. Twelve cross tunnels aggregated 
about 3 miles in length and the main tunnel was 2l/o miles long and 14 feet 
in diameter. 

Difficulties soon appeared. The construction of over 5 miles of tunnel and 
238 wheel-pits aggregating some 4 miles more, practically all by rock excava- 
tion in a hard limestone deposit, indicated the economy in fewer wheel-pits 
and a lessened length of tunnels and inlet-canals. The likelihood of ice in 
some 3 miles of comparatively shallow inlet-canals promised to be a serious 
menace to dependable operation. Furthermore an industrial development of 

1 For drawings see Chapter VII, Volume I, and Chapter XVII, Volume II. 



hundreds of mills equivalent to that of half a dozen prominent manufacturing 
communities comprised within a restricted area was visionary, requiring a 
generation in time and fortunes in expenditures to create. 

Obviously power production should be concentrated into fewer units and 
if practicable the power distributed to the places where it could best be used. 
Without transmission the water-wheels and the mills must come together, 
to the detriment of each; but with transmission, the power could be produced 
by the most efficient and economical means, and the mills and factories located 
to their best advantage in operation. 

It was also recognized that large initial investment would be necessary and 
that a slowly growing industrial community would produce a tardy income, 
while the supplying of electric current to the established communities of 
Buffalo and Tonawanda would afford an immediate income for meeting 
interest charges on construction costs. 


It was realized that the project involved problems of great magnitude and 
that technical advice of a high order was needed in several departments of 
engineering. Immediate steps were taken to secure such assistance, particu- 
larly in the matter of power transmission by electricity. 


Naturally, among the first experts to be consulted regarding the Niagara 
project was Thomas A. Edison, not only because he designed and introduced 
the electric distribution for incandescent lighting by direct-current systems 
then in use and rapidly extending, but because a large number of the financial 
group then considering the Niagara-Evershed project were associated with 
Mr. Edison as directors and stockholders in electric companies bearing his 

While Mr. Edison was abroad in September, 1889, he was asked by cable, 
respecting the project to transmit Niagara power to Buffalo: 

Has power transmission reached such development that in your judgment scheme 

He cabled from Havre, September 28th: 

No difficulty transferring unlimited power. Will assist. Sailing toda}'. 

Mr. Edison had made a survey, in 1886, of the situation in Buffalo and what 
he termed a rough estimate of the cost of transferring power from the turbine 
shaft at Niagara Falls to the center of the city of Buffalo. 

His estimates, it is stated, were based upon the delivery of 5000 horse- 
power, being the estimated net amount from about 6800 horse-power taken 



from the shaft at the falls and transmitted the 22 miles at a loss of about 
20 per cent on the wires, and about 6 per cent on dynamos and "reducers." He 
proposed to use 6000 volts, which he then considered as high as any commer- 
cial enterprise should use, and with his new reducers at Buffalo, step-down the 
voltage to 300-400 volts for power and 200 for lights. 

Thomas A. Edison at Work 
in His Laboratory 

It was during the year 1889 that the partisans of direct and alternating 
current resorted to the press in their efforts to create public opinion for or 
against their favorite current. The alternating current was new, but its use, 
principally for incandescent lighting was rapidly extending both in this 
country and abroad. The antagonism in the competition of electrical industries 
reached such a point that both currents were recommended for use in the pro- 
posed establishment of state execution 1 by electric current, and there was 

'The only current used at Sing Sing Prison has been the alternating, single-phase, sixty-cycle current. 



much discussion as to which current would be preferred by the executioner 
and the criminal. 

Mr. Edison was written, October 1G, 1889, that the enterprise was then 
regarded as a project to furnish power for use in the immediate vicinity of 
Niagara Falls by electrical or other methods, and that a comparatively small 
amount of light would also be consumed there; that if the project upon this 
basis would return a fair rate of interest on the capital invested, one could 
safely engage in the business, trusting to development, under good manage- 
ment, for the larger results to be expected and that as one of the means of 
obtaining large profits, consideration would be given to the supply of power 
in Tonawanda and Buffalo and to the distribution of light in those places. 

Mr. Edison confidently believed the Niagara-Buffalo transmission' feasible 
by the continuous-current system. He welcomed such a favorable opportunity 
to estimate the efficiency and commercial value of the direct current and at 
once resumed his consideration of the Niagara-Buffalo transmission, under- 
taking a new survey of the conditions. 

An examination was made on his behalf in 1889 by C. J. Field, 2 of Brooklyn, 
regarding the proposed transmission to Buffalo, by laying cables in the river 
channel. He reported, November 11, estimating that the cable line from 
power-house in Niagara to Black Rock, at the northern boundary of Buffalo, 15 miles via the channel on the Canadian side of Grand Island, and, 
by using an underground line directly across Grand Island, the distance 
would be reduced to 14 miles. The river bottom was found generally uniform 
and nearly free from holes or shoals. There were several rocky places but as 
they did not extend across the river-bed, they could easily be avoided in laying 
the cables. It was considered entirely feasible to lay and use cables in the 
channel of the river. 

Mr. Edison recommended the 14 mile line directly across Grand Island, 
with the cable in a trench and crossing the river at Buffalo and Niagara by a 
pole suspension. Mr. Field's report included the results of his inquiries as to 
ice, anchorage, temperature of water, depth of river, canal and ship channel 
dredging, etc. 

About this period Mr. Edison cabled to Siemens Brothers of London, for 
an approximate estimate for the sizes and lengths of cables probably desired. 
His comment upon the reply was, "The prices are rather high when 45 per 
cent is added (duty) and I think they can be made in this country." 

Mr. Field reported that "there is at present about 4000 horse-power at 
Tonawanda, which is continually increasing. There are two electric street 

1 Cassirr's Magazine of March, 1893. 

2 General Manager, Edison Electric Illuminating Company, of Brooklyn. 



railways, also an electric light station contemplated, but are holding off for 
the further development of this problem. At Buffalo there is estimated from 
40,000 to 50,000 horse-power. The city is spending more than $300,000 for 
lighting, of which the gas company is still getting two-thirds." 

The estimate received from the laboratory of Mr. Edison, on November 14, 
1889, amounted to $5,243,000, as the cost of producing but not of distributing, 
by means of a 

Main tunnel, with capacity of 120,000 horse-power; 

Hydraulic development with turbines and rope or cable transmission 
to surface; 

Niagara electric station for production of continuous current for 
transmission by wires in cables to Buffalo; 

Three sub-stations in Buffalo for distribution of light and power, 
but not including systems of distribution to consuming customers. 

An income of $880,000 net per annum was estimated from a gross annual 
revenue of $1,402,000 sold en grosse at the sub-station terminals in Buffalo. 

The prospective income was alluring, but capital was particularly cautious 
at that time in view of the possibility of a cheaper and more direct form of 
transmission becoming available before the main tunnel could be completed. 
It was therefore decided to continue investigations while plans were being 
prepared for the construction of the tunnel, the backbone of the enterprise. 

The hydraulic features of the project were still under consideration, and 
the problems of distribution had not yet gone beyond those of local use, from 
a central power source, for which systems of water under pressure, compressed 
air, and electricity were recommended. 

The thorough examination and resulting opinion, as expressed by so 
eminent an electrician as Mr. Edison, were convincing that the use of elec- 
tricity had not then been sufficiently developed for its economical and 
profitable distribution in long-distance transmission for power purposes. 

The advantages of the alternating current in long-distance transmission 
were then exciting the attention of engineers and under these conditions it 
seemed desirable to continue the study of transmission plans until after the 
fundamental elements of the main project for primary units had been 

As Mr. Edison declined to accept financial compensation for his services 
at this time, an offer was made to pay the expenses of his investigation. To 
this suggestion he demurred, and after some estimates of the probable costs 
were figured, an offer was made to pay him $10,000 for his maps and statistics. 



This offer was also declined, with the statement that he would prefer to keep 
his information. 

Henry Morton 

PH.D., SC.D., LL.D. 

Physicist and Engineer 
First President of 
Stevens Institute of Technology 


Dr. Henry Morton, president of the Stevens Institute of Technology, was 
retained as a scientific adviser and the documents in the case were submitted 
to him for analysis. He reported early in September, 1889, as follows: 

In reply to your question respecting the practicability and economy of transmitting 
power in large amounts through long distances (say units of 1000 horse-power for 
10 or 20 miles) by means of electric currents, I would say that the problem is not one 
which has as yet received anywhere its practical solution, and therefore we cannot say 
it is certainly feasible because it has already been done in such and such a case. 



Large amounts of power have been transmitted to distances of 1 or 2 miles, and small 
amounts of power have been transmitted for long distances, such as 30 miles, but the 
combination of large amounts of power and long distances has not yet been realized in 
practise, and without doubt something new in the dimensions and proportions of elec- 
trical machinery must be developed in order to meet the requirements of such a problem 
as you propose. 

Enough, however, has been done to furnish a sound basis for general calculations and 
estimates, and having gone over these with great care, in a variety of cases, I feel 
entirely satisfied that a plant could be constructed for the transmission of 1000 horse- 
power through a distance of 10 or 20 miles at such a cost as would make each horse-power 
available at the end of the line, costs from $10 to $20 per year ; this including all interest 
on the cost of electrical machinery, line-wires, buildings and other structures, and the 
expense of maintenance as expressed in wages of attendants and costs of repairs. This 
does not include the cost of producing the power by turbines or otherwise at Niagara, 
which I have not examined or attempted to estimate. 

For larger amounts than 1000 horse-power, it would be best to duplicate the plant 
required for the former amount. 

In my estimation the difficulties, expensiveness and wastefulness of any pneumatic 
method of transmitting power for such distances, renders it unworthy of consideration 
in this connection. 

The generation of an alternating current was then considered particularly 
interesting when produced at high potential, because it could be carried far 
and economically by the use of a small copper wire. 

The difficulties after transmission were the unsurmounted obstacles that 
prevented the use of the high-tension current. 

The means for reduction of the voltage to safe and useful pressure in 
distribution had not been provided; the converters were yet to be designed 
and manufactured. 

Scientists had theoretically demonstrated to their own satisfaction that 
the current could be controlled and distributed safely and economically as 
desired for use in motors as power. Their laboratories were working out 
designs and engaged in the construction of experimental machines. The results 
were encouraging but not commercial. Hope may have fathered the thought 
that the machines would be forthcoming; the stakes were high, the field was 
promising and the community was expectant; success meant fortunes; there 
was an unmistakable demand that lured the inventor; the pioneer promoter 
had both courage and confidence. The necessity was recognized as the mother 
of the inventions required. 

Naturally there were different points of view. The pioneer sought in- 
formation and soon learned that conservatism counseled delay, for safety, 
while leaders had visions of useful achievements almost within siafht and 




Among the earliest to recognize the economic advantages of transmitting 
electric current at high potential was Frank J. Sprague, a recognized au- 
thority on electrical matters. His early electric railway studies indicated the 
importance of 3000-volt current transmission on the trolley car. He believed 

Frank Julian Sprague 
d.eng.,, ll.d. 
Electrical Engineer 
Grad. U. S. Naval Academy, 1878 
Mem. A. I. E. E. (Pres. 1892-1893) 

that whatever potential might prove necessary for commercial operations 
would be adopted and means be found to divert its use from danger by pro- 
tective control. 

Mr. Sprague made important advances in the use and control of alternating 
currents of electricity at high potential, when experimenting in 1880-1881 at 



the United States Torpedo Station at Newport, Rhode Island, when he pro- 
posed converters or reversed secondary coils. 

Upon official request, he made a report September 13, 1886, to the Edison 
Electric Illuminating Company of New York upon the system of supplying 
light by the use of alternating current machines and converters ( transformers ) . 

After descriptive and mathematical demonstrations of the comparative 
value, in capital expenditure, and in the profit and safety of operation, he 

the whole question seems to me to be solved by a comparison, where long-distances are 
used, between the two systems, and in this case the alternating current distribution un- 
questionably has the advantage. 

There is no question in my mind but that this kind of distribution has come to stay and 
is going to be a formidable rival to the system of direct supply by continuous currents. 

These are significant facts and you cannot too soon take steps to prevent some one 
getting in the field ahead of you. 

On October 31, 1889, in a report to an eminent physicist, regarding distance 
transmission, Mr. Sprague expressed the following views : 

I do not think the problem to transmit power by electricity from Niagara Falls to 
several points at varied distances up to 20 miles, a sound one, commercially. Scientifi- 
cally, of course, it is possible ; but in view of the large amount of work which has to be 
done to develop a suitable plant, the risks of accident, the necessity of a secondary 
conversion, say in Ruffalo, and the ordinary commercial questions which arise, seem to 
take this problem out of the category of those which may be specially relied upon to be 
successful. My own feeling is simply this : with ample means, and with an assured 
demand for the power, I would not hesitate to transmit any amount of power from 
Niagara Falls to Ruffalo, but, although I would feel capable of doing this, if I were at 
the same time asked if I would invest any money in the enterprise, I would decline to do 
it, because there are so many questions which determine the success or failure of such 
an enterprise independent of the mere special transmission of the power between two 
points. I think the more serious problem would be the distribution of the power after 
having gotten it to Ruffalo. There would be no particular difficulty, I take it, in 
building alternate-current machines, say of 10,000 or 20,000 horse-power and trans- 
mitting the power at 7000 or 8000 volts potential, but such a potential would not be 
allowed overhead in the streets and there would be great difficulty even in carrying it 
underground. Converters would be necessary, or a big general receiving motor which 
would operate other dynamos. 

As regards the use of the converter, there has not yet been produced a good single 
circuit alternate-current motor, and as for secondary conversion, where the station 
is operated by the large motor, I think the losses are too serious to make it practical. 
In short, my position 1 in the matter is — I can transmit and distribute this power, but 

i Sometime later Mr. Sprague advised the Edison interests, in a formal report, that they should emhark 
actively in development along alternating-current lines to meet the problems of the transmission of 
energy over long distances and to carry on this work simultaneously with the development of their con- 
tinuous-current system. 



I think it a problem so uncommercial, in view of the attendant difficulties and risks, that 
it is better to keep out of it. 


It being recognized that the further discussion of the relative values of con- 
tinuous and alternating currents for commercial purposes involved serious 

Henry Augustus Rowland 

PH.D., LL.D. 


First Director of the Physics Laboratory 
of Johns Hopkins University 

questions as to danger, control, efficiency, capital outlays, expenses of mainte- 
nance, and knowledge of the electrical science in its latest manifestations, the 
services were secured, about October 1, 1889, of Henry A. Rowland, physicist, 
of Johns Hopkins University of Baltimore, for advice in the investigation 
and development of the enterprise. 



In submitting the problem to Professor Rowland the bankers outlined their 
position as follows: 

While it was generally understood that the development of the transmis- 
sion of power by electricity had proceeded recently with great rapidity, no 
definite information seemed available to justify investments in hydraulic 
power upon the assumption that the science of long-distance electrical trans- 
mission of power had reached a commercial basis. The main questions were 
as to the economical transmission of power and light for commercial purposes, 
and the adoption of a hydro-electric system suitable for the enormous amount 
of Niagara power available and the conditions of the demand therefor. The 
progress attained in the science of electricity, and the state of the art of its 
application, were conditions that the bankers wished to understand before 
capital should be invited to participate in the venture proposed. 

Professor Rowland undertook a report considering, first the general theory 
of the subject of transmission of power to great distances with respect to 
economy, etc., after which, he stated: 

I would treat of the means at our disposal for carrying out the theory. This latter 
would include a discussion of the different systems in use at the present time. But the 
great distance to which the power is to be carried makes an entirely new problem for 
the electrical engineers. 

That power can be transmitted to a great distance by electricity and with reasonable 
certainty is a matter well determined at the present day (1889). But the practical and 
commercial problem is of a different nature from the scientific one and may be stated 
thus : 

At what distance from cheap water-power can such power, transmitted electrically, 
compete with steam in cost and certainty of operation? 

To assure certainty of operation, especially in competition with steam- 
power, Professor Rowland recommended bare copper wires on a pole line, 
or overhead system of transmission, instead of the use of underground cables 
carrying high potentials. 

He stated that the method of electric transmission by alternating currents 
had great possibilities, and many persons thought it the method of the future. 
The higher the potential, the greater the economy, but the greater the dangers 
of its use. He considered the limit at the state of the art of its control at that 
period to be 3000 volts at the dynamos, and at the motors about 2000. At that 
time, he said, the alternating system was not a practical success. In case of 
distance transmission, however, of electricity for both lighting and power use, 
high-tension currents must be employed. 

In the use of the continuous current for which he presented a plan for 
transmission to Tonawanda and Buffalo, he described the method of coupling 



the dynamos in series to obtain any potential desired, and recommended the 
Edison type of machine as the best adapted to this purpose, as such machines 
could be insulated to produce successfully 1250 volts, but were seldom con- 
structed in this country of higher power than 250 horse-power. 

After presenting several systems for the transmission of continuous current 
generated in a central station at Niagara Falls to local users and to Tona- 
wanda and Buffalo, Professor Rowland gave the following summary of his 
conclusions in his study of the Niagara problem : 

1. That the wire rope method of transmitting power was best and cheapest up to a 
mile or even two miles, when possible to employ it. 

2. That at two to five miles distance electric transmission could compete with steam- 
engines of all powers using coal, and that it would pay the consumer to adopt it in all 
cases where his engine was not of the very highest type and new. In this latter case 
he would probably wait until his boilers wore out. 

3. That at Tonawanda competition would be successful with engines up to nearly 
1000 horse-power, provided coal were the fuel, and not furnace gases or the refuse 
from sawmills. 

4. That at Buffalo it would pay the owners of 100 horse-power engines to throw them 
away only if they were old and poor, and that difficulty would probably be found in 
inducing them to do so until the electrical scheme had been working for years and had 
proved to them that electric power is as certain as steam. Below 50-horse-power units 
the competition with steam would probably be successful, provided enough horse-power 
could be sold, which he considered doubtful. With enterprising business management, 
the scheme might succeed, but there was much uncertainty about it. 

5. That there was very little danger of broken communication, except from storms 
of the worst character or by malicious persons. As iron poles, near together, had been 
used in his project for the main lines, only the most violent storms acting on frozen 
sleet hanging to the wires could break them down, and this danger could be diminished 
by using silicon bronze instead of copper for the wires, or by making them fewer in 
number and larger. As to injury from malicious persons, the danger of instant death 
would prevent all but the most persistent persons from interfering. Undoubtedly, proper 
insulators could be devised to defy the weather but not without trouble and experiment 
at the high potential used. 

6. That no electric company should be allowed to carry out such a scheme, as he did 
not believe any of them were prepared for it or had the highest class of electricians 
capable of dealing with such a problem, who were not already engaged in their own 
personal work to such an extent as to keep them from devoting their time to such a 
project. The proper way would be to engage an electrical engineer at a high salary 
to stand between the company and the electric manufacturers. Such an engineer would 
save his cost many times. Let him spend six months or a year studying the matter and 
find how much power he was certain of selling in the different places and at what price. 
Then put up a plant capable of enlargement and work it a long enough time to be 



assured of success. Then enlarge the plant, first erecting machine shops for the manu- 
facture of dynamos and motors unless very good terms could be made with the electric 
companies. A portion of the profits could then be derived from the sale of motors to the 
consumers of power. In this way, with a competent electrician, and economical as well 
as active business management, he believed a success might be made of it. At all events, 
the capital necessary to try the experiment would not be excessive, while the dynamos 
and copper wire, which constituted the greater portion of the expense, would always 
meet with a ready sale. 

7. That no step should be taken before canvassing the two cities and the surrounding 
country and finding how much power could be sold and at what price. 

Professor Rowland stated that he had used potentials no higher than those 
of many electric light wires in all large cities, and believed they could be 
used with some little trouble. He thought it might be well, however, to take 
into account the recent agitation with reference to the subject and consider 
the jDossibility of laws being passed to prevent the use of high potentials, as 
they had already been in England, or to force the system underground as 
in New York. 


After a careful examination, with the personal assistance of Dr. Morton, 
of the questions involved in the papers submitted with the prospectus, the 
bankers sent the documents to Clemens Herschel, hydraulic engineer, for a 
report upon these plans from the standpoint of the hydraulic engineer and of 
the manager of water-power property. 

Mr. Herschel referred, in his report of August 28, 1889, to his long famili- 
arity with the conditions prevailing at Niagara, and made the following com- 
ments upon certain features of the project submitted for his consideration. 

Comparing with the mill-power developed at the manufacturing districts 
in New England, he considered the total provision of about 300 acres at 
Niagara Falls quite insufficient for the local utilization of 120,000 horse- 
power. The average power in use at Holyoke in 1890 amounted to less than 
200 horse-power per acre. 

He considered the "income assured" in the prospectus entirely unreliable; 
based upon the cost of steam-power from coal, such income could not be ob- 
tained. The prices quoted varied from $2 to $65 and $83.33 per horse-power 
per annum and represented such irregularities in calculation that they also 
suggested uncertainties and doubt as to their origin and reliability. 

Although Mr. Herschel recognized that improvements and inventions were 
following each other so rapidly in the electrical art, that even electricians were 
doubtful of the costs of Niagara power transmitted to Buffalo, he felt justified 

1 See portrait, Chapter XXVIII, Volume II. 



in assuming, on the basis of a comparison with the cost of steam-power, that it 
would be worth at least $30 per electric horse-power per annum in that city. 

He considered the transportation facilities at the site in question certainly 
superior, and Niagara a very favored place for freight rates. 

In view of 'the years required for the establishment of a manufacturing 
community, Mr. Herschel suggested the construction of smaller works than 
those proposed. "I think," he stated, "it is characteristic of water-power ad- 
ventures, that they require a large outlay before any income can be expected ; 
and even upon completion of the work the income increases slowly, from small 
beginnings up to profitable proportions. I think that the plans at Niagara 
Falls, if carried out prudently, would be profitable also, but not right away." 


After careful inquiries for an engineer of broad experience in mechanical 
and electrical problems, and free from professional association with any 
electrical manufacturing company that might make it difficult for him to 
render impartial decisions, Coleman Sellers of Philadelphia, was engaged 
about October 1, 1889, to investigate the conditions at Niagara Falls, to 
advise as to the development of power and to consider the relative merits of 
the systems available for local and distant use, the extent of their commercial 
application, their economies as compared with steam, and their practical 
application to the project for the development of Niagara power under some, 
if not all, of the conditions of the Evershed plan. 

Dr. Sellers made three formal reports during that period to January 1, 
1890, from which date his services were permanently established as consult- 
ing engineer of The Cataract Construction Company. 

He expressed the opinions: 

1. That the Evershed project was practicable and, under judicious management, 
would prove economical in the production of power. As presented by the prospectus 
and map, it was, in effect, simply an idea, that might prove advantageous to work out 
under the guidance of the highest attainments in engineering. 

2. That there was a reasonable certainty of transmitting the power as electricity 20 
miles, for profitable sale at the point of delivery, at less than the cost of steam-power 
generated from coal at the same place. 

3. That other methods of power transmission were in successful use besides the usual 
shaft-and-belt transmission, but their economy was limited in distance, varying accord- 
ing to special conditions, within a radius of about 5 miles. Mention and brief descrip- 
tions were given of transmission by telodynamic, hydraulic and pneumatic methods. 
Because pneumatic transmission was being replaced in various mining operations by the 

1 See portrait, Appendix A, Volume I. 



use of electrical methods, these systems should be very carefully studied, as they were 
promising and the machines for their use becoming available with excellent results. 

4. That large factory operations were now conducted by the use of large steam- 
engines, which, notwithstanding the known loss in transmitting power by line shafting, 
gave better results than many small engines scattered about the works, each directly 
driving its own machines. "Electricity seems to court division, and small motors at- 
tached to the machines may do better than a combination of large motors at one place 
giving motion to shafting after the manner of large steam-engines." 

5. That this enterprise would supply the cheapest water-power in the largest quanti- 
ties that had ever been produced, and this with an element of unusual stability. 

6. That much economy in expenditure of capital, as well as in the operation of the 
plant, might be secured by skillful engineering, in determining the velocity of water in 
the discharge tunnel or tail-race and intake canals, and in the design of hydraulic 

7. In establishing prices for power it should be constantly borne in mind that, 
although power was then available in manufacturing centers, at about $16 for 12 hours' 
use, even at the same price Niagara power would be much cheaper because it would be 
for 24 hours' use, and no provision would need to be made for depletion of reservoirs 
or repair of retaining dams. 

8. That it would be advisable to keep in view the chance to obtain control of the 
hydraulic canal at Niagara Falls. 

9. That geological conditions and the records of river flow should be critically ex- 
amined. Local observers of wide experience and the oldest residents had been inter- 
viewed regarding the lasting qualities of the limestone rock and shale, through both of 
which the tunnel would probably pass. The consensus of opinion was that the shale 
would wear well and the tunnel need no lining. 

10. That the probable cost of the discharge tunnel, inlet-canal, one cross tunnel, ten 
wheel-pits, and accessories, was estimated at about $2,000,000 for the first section of 
the project, to develop 20,000 horse-power. This total included ten double water-wheels 
of 1000 horse-power each, and cables from wheels to surface to the first jack-shafts, 
also the cost of the land, water-rights, franchises and property acquired. 

11. The uniform distribution of 2000 horse-power to each wheel-pit, and the carry- 
ing of this in blocks of 1000 horse-power to each of the mill-sites, one on either side of 
the pit, would enable the property to be rented to advantage even to small users, as the 
rope transmission in some cases would make it possible for whole rows of small indus- 
tries to take the place of any one large factory. 

The later reports of Dr. Sellers included suggestions for the letting of 
contracts for tunnel and other excavations and for the reduction in the number 
of inlets and changes in their location, that would lessen the cost of construc- 
tion of a first section of 20,000 horse-power development and permit the 
occupation of necessary space for railroad tracks and other service facilities 
of the mills. 



In commemoration of Dr. Coleman Sellers, and as a memorial of his wise 
counsel and valued services to the Niagara enterprise, this history is dedicated 
to him by the author. Lewis B. Still well has written a tribute to his memory, 
which appears as Appendix A to this volume. 


These and other reports from hydraulic and electrical engineers of varied 
experience and recognized professional standing, together with numerous 
personal conferences on the same subjects, brought definite -views to the 
financial syndicate of the Evershed project. 

Upon a careful analysis of the conditions that obtained at Niagara, it 
became apparent that commercial considerations required the modification 
of the Evershed plan. 

In view of the authority conferred by state charter for use of the waters 
of Niagara River without limitation, 1 and the general conviction that a 
market could eventually be found for a large amount of power, it seemed 
clear that success lay in the direction of a development upon an unprecedented 

The uncertainties were mainly financial and engineering. A course must 
be found which would retain the advantage to be derived from the production 
of power in vast quantities, but which would still keep the capital expendi- 
tures within such bounds that provision for fixed charges could be made 
readily, after construction, out of receipts during the period of growth. It 
was recognized that a large and ready market was Avaiting at Buffalo, with 
its population of 256,000, but in that direction the way was opposed by 
intricate scientific and economic problems that might prove very difficult 
to solve. 

Since it was evident that a discharge tunnel was essential to any plan that 
might be adopted, and the engineers advised that it be constructed, at the 
outset, of sufficient capacity to provide for an eventual development of a 
large amount of power, the entire cost of this tunnel was necessarily included 
in providing for the initial outlay of capital. 

As there appeared to be a good prospect of disposing of 20,000 horse-power 
locally at not less than $9 per annum for 24-hour use, an annual gross income 
of $180,000 from an initial development of that capacity seemed assured 
within a reasonable time. This would suffice to carry the $2,000,000 cost of 
such an installation as estimated by Dr. Sellers, and it was therefore 
considered prudent to adopt this program for the commencement of 

1 Charter amendment of May 12, 1892, restricted water use to 200,000 "effective" horse-power. 



It was recognized by all persons in interest that there were no precedents 
to follow and that the special problems at Niagara were only to be worked 
out practically and commercially by the aid of the most advanced develop- 
ments of several branches of engineering, operating in close accord. Because 
of their novelty, every detail should have deliberate consideration from all 
possible points of view, and much time should be provided for this study. New 
designs and important inventions or discoveries were necessary. The experi- 
ences of others, particularly those of the ingenieur-constructeurs of Switzer- 
land, where water-power is the chief product of the country, were to be sought 
for guidance in preparing plans at Niagara. There were various forms 
of power transmission in use abroad to be studied, especially the elec- 
trical methods that were then receiving much attention from scientists and 

It was not deemed advisable, however, to await the solution of all these 
problems before proceeding with the work. Whatever forms of development 
and transmission might be adopted, they all would require the facilities of a 
water-inlet and a water discharge, and therefore these, as a hydraulic system, 
were prime necessities. As much time would be required for preparation, 
surveys, geological examinations, study of surface conditions, negotiations 
for rights and privileges, development of tunnel and inlet designs, etc., it was 
determined to proceed with the enterprise, provide the money estimated as 
necessary for the construction of the first section of the project, and make 
definite arrangements to secure complete information as to the state of 
the arts of hydraulic development of power and various methods for its trans- 
formation and utilization. 


Action was taken in accordance with these views on January 16, 1890. A 
syndicate subscription was invited and $2,630,000 was received, payable in 
cash as required for construction purposes. The details of these financial 
operations will be found in subsequent chapters. 

At a meeting of the "money subscribers," held February 6, 1890, after 
consideration of the reports of their engineers, it was resolved that : 

The Cataract Construction Company be and it is hereby authorized and requested 
now to proceed to the preparation, execution and performance of a contract with The 
Niagara Falls Power Company, such as is contemplated in the agreement (syndicate 
subscription) of January 17, 1890. 

The president of the company, Mr. Adams, undertook the foreign consulta- 
tions and investigations of scientific and engineering character and the chief 
engineer, Dr. Sellers, proceeded with the preparations for construction on the 



preliminary plan proposed, and organized an engineering staff for his assist- 
ance. The form, size, location, grade and details of construction of the tunnel 
were to be determined, specifications prepared, and contracts negotiated. 

Accurate surveys of the land with the view of possible purchase, and of the 
lands under water with riparian rights, were ordered prepared under the 
general direction of John Bogart, the state engineer. 

The statistics of the relative number of employees, horse-power and acreage 
used in various industries established in New England, New York and 
vicinity, prompted the plan to purchase about 1000 acres in addition to the 
550 acres already under control. 

The raw materials to be used and the product of their manufacture required 
convenient and prompt transportation. To facilitate this, with competitive 
freight rates, "in transit" or otherwise, the larger portion of these 1000 acres 
for purchase were designated near the railways of the New York Central 
and the Erie Railroad companies, upon which lands (166 acres) the Niagara 
Junction Railroad would be constructed by the cataract company to assure 
these important commercial advantages for the new industrial community. 

Certain lands (368 acres) were selected for the development of the 
residential village of Echota, subsequently constructed by The Cataract 
Construction Company, near the center of the large acreage subsequently 
purchased, that would be central to the industrial growth, and sufficient for 
extensions as the populations increased. 

The system for the supply of potable water to the people of the town of 
Niagara Falls was insufficient for increase of population and the water was 
not satisfactory in purity. Plans were made to overcome these unfavorable 
conditions, and the stock, property and assets of the Niagara Falls Water- 
Works, the local company, were acquired in January, 1890, and provision 
made for the extension of its franchise and system and the purification of its 

Nearly all the rights-of-way for the discharge tunnel and the inlet-canal 
were acquired at this time. To assure continuity of service the recom- 
mendation of the engineers that the right-of-way for a second discharge 
tunnel should be acquired was adopted, and negotiations therefor were actively 
pushed and successfully concluded. 

The extension of the trolley line to the proposed new village and the indus- 
trial plants was advocated and assured. 

The harnessing of the waters of Niagara had at last been undertaken with 
the support of adequate capital, and the great enterprise was well under way. 



Chapter IX 

While prosecuting these investigations I received 
an impression that the method we had planned (direct 
driving of mills by individual wheels) and were on the 
point of carrying out was a mistake. ... I came to 
the conclusion that our true way possibly might be 
to build this tunnel and develop the whole power in 
this one central station, transmitting the power to 
different places. 

Edward Dean Adams 
Brown's Hotel 
June 18, 1890 




THE subscription, in January, 1890, of abundant funds for initial con- 
struction marked the transition from investigation to determine whether 
the tunnel project for power development at Niagara should be undertaken 
or not, to the period of constructive planning. 

An outstanding result of the preliminary investigation was the revelation 
that there were no hydraulic power developments in existence, which would 
serve as examples to be followed in the Niagara undertaking. The old mill- 
over-the-wheel-pit plan would have involved prohibitive construction costs 
for excavating canals and shafts and tunnels in hard rock, and it would not 
deliver the power where and in amounts as it was wanted. 

New methods were called for; power was to be produced on an unprece- 
dented scale ; there should be fewer canals and fewer water-wheels than were 
originally proposed ; the wheels should be larger ; there should be means for 
distributing power locally over a few hundred yards, or possibly a mile or two, 
and there should be means for transmitting power to Buffalo. But nothing 
in existence was adequate to accomplish these results. 

There was confidence that these problems could be solved and it had been 
determined to proceed with the undertaking as a turbine development, by 
means of a short inlet and the shortest possible tail-race tunnel. 

As desirable adjuncts to this plan, the right-of-way for an additional tunnel 
had been secured; a comparatively large area of land had been purchased, 
and various public utilities had been projected, that were essential to the 
residence and employment of what would constitute an important increase 
in the population of the community. 

A special charter of The Niagara Falls Power Company had been secured, 
that had been issued by the State of New York to the Niagara River Hy- 
draulic Tunnel, Power and Sewer Company, 1 as authority for and encourage- 
ment of the Niagara development. 

A satisfactory charter of The Cataract Construction Company had been 
received from the State of New Jersey for the construction of works of im- 
provement. Other charters and franchises were in process of acquisition. 

Capital had been subscribed for an amount, $2,630,000, considered ample 
for the first section, or unit, of the hydraulic system, as well as for lands and 
their improvement. 

1 Name changed in 1889 to The Niagara Falls Power Company. 



An engineering organization had been formulated, and preparation made 
for surveys, designs, plans and construction. 

Central stations or power-houses were the preferred plans for development 
of power, provided an adequate system of power distribution could be found, 
either by cable drive, compressed air, water under pressure, or by electric 

The primary turbine units, it was believed, should be unusually large and 
their complementary machines, whether pumps, compressors or generators, 
should be mounted on the same rotating shaft so as to constitute a unit of 
power, developed at the foot and distributed at the top of a single column. 

The immediate problem was to determine the form, size, location, grade 
and details of construction of the tunnel. These matters were taken up by the 
board of engineers of the company for the purpose of preparing specifications 
and negotiating contracts for the commencement of the important work of 
rock excavation for tunnels and inlet. 


While these preliminaries were being studied and plans developed at 
Niagara, the president of The Cataract Construction Company was in Eu- 
rope, where he arrived in February, 1890, in quest of information as to the 
state of the science of power development and the art of its transmission. 
Anticipating that questions would arise regarding electrical transmission, 
particularly as to the use of direct or alternating current, he sold, prior to 
departure, his shares and resigned his directorship in the Edison Electric 
Illuminating Company of New York, in order to remove all question of 
personal interest, which might restrict the freedom with which information 
might otherwise be supplied. 

There were three distinct lines of information inviting research; first, by 
reading technical publications ; second, by correspondence with scientists and 
engineers ; and last, by personal conferences with the ingenieur-constructeurs 
of France and Switzerland. 

Several months were devoted to the collection of books, pamphlets, journals, 
the reports and proceedings of engineering societies, photographs and plans, 
all of which were carefully studied and their appropriate suggestions and 
statements noted for reference in case of need. 

Switzerland, an industrial country, dependent, through lack of fuel, upon 
its never-failing waterfalls, had made hydraulics and mechanics special 
features of its educational system and had developed leaders of those sciences 



and masters of those arts. At that period, they had won international recog- 
nition and could point with pride to engineering works abroad as well as at 
home, in evidence of their skill and experience. Therefore it was to Switzer- 
land and its engineers that special attention was given in the first communi- 
cations regarding prime movers. 

To the query, "What books have you published about water-wheels?", it 
was answered, "A few books only, but we have built many turbines for our- 
selves as well as others," explaining, "this is natural, because water-power 
and scenery are our national resources, and turbines and hotels represent 
some of our most successful industries." Upon the suggestion of utilizing 
Niagara Falls, the Swiss manufacturers promptly manifested sympathetic 
interest. Their mountains were grand and their falls were numerous and 
beautiful, but they could not be compared with the majesty and power of 
Niagara, that they believed Swiss turbines should control. 

A collection of Swiss trade circulars, carefully prepared and fully illus- 
trated, many being in fact elaborate treatises upon turbines, pumps, com- 
pressors and other departments of mechanics, was soon acquired and eagerly 

The names of the most prominent and experienced ingenieur-constructeurs 
in Switzerland were obtained through assistance of the consulates of the 
United States at Geneva and Zurich. Subsequent correspondence brought 
records of experience and current work and led to personal visits and con- 
ferences. Among such correspondents, several of whose works and installa- 
tions were visited, were the following. 

Escher, Wyss & Company, of Zurich, who had constructed about 2000 
turbines of a total of 120,000 horse-power, naturally received careful atten- 
tion. Among their important water-wheel installations were cited the utili- 
zation of the Rheinfall, near Schaffhausen, of the Rhone at Geneva, of the 
Zurich River, and of the Rhine near Rheinfelden, by 15 turbines of 1000 
horse-power each, under a head of 7 metres. 

Faesch and Piccard, of Geneva, had designed and constructed several 
hydraulic works for power transmission of particular interest, one by cable at 
Bellegarde, one by electricity at Oyonnax, and one by water under pressure 
and a hydro-electric station, both at Geneva. 

Another firm of importance was Theodor Bell & Cie., of Kriens, Lucerne, 
that had recently completed the hydro-electric station for the city of Berne 
for electrical lighting. 

Joh. Jacob Reiter & Company, of Winterthur, were recognized as among 
the long-established and successful makers of turbines, whose co-operation 



was sought in preparation for a scientific commission to consider the hydraulic 

The Machine Works ( Maschinenf abrik ) of Oerlikon, near Zurich, of which 
Chas. E. L. Brown was then electrical director, was awarded the only Grand 
Prix for dynamos at the Paris Exhibition of 1889, in competition with several 
American exhibitors of electrical machinery. It was stated that within a few 
years they had made a total of more than 20,000 horse-power of electrical 
machinery, including motors of 400 horse-power and generators (for the 
production of aluminum) of 000 horse-power, which were reported to be the 
largest in the world. Generators of about 75 horse-power, aggregating 800 
horse-power, were being supplied for hydraulic power stations in Chile for 
supplying power by direct current a distance of several kilometers for the 
drilling of tunnels in the construction of the trans-Andine Railway. Alter- 
nating-current apparatus for transmitting current considerable distances, 
principally for lighting, was an important feature of the work at Oerlikon, but 
of particular interest was the project for the transmission of several hundred 
horse-power for more than a hundred miles for the Frankfort Exhibition to 
be held the following year. 

Among power transmissions by hydro-electric methods that were visited 
were those at Charminet, on the Ain River, 7^ kilometers to Oyonnax, where 
the great advantage of electrical power was seen in the facility of its sub- 
division for small industries requiring only from two to three horse-power. 
This was designed and constructed by Swiss engineers. 

Domene, Isere, was also visited, about 5 kilometers from a water source, 
difficult of access, and practically inaccessible in winter. This plant of 200 
effective horse-power was designed by A. Hillairet, a French engineer, of 
Paris, for the operation of the Chevrant Paper Mill, and was considered in 
all respects a most interesting and successful project. Power was transmitted 
by a direct current of 70 amperes, the average voltage being 2850. 

There were a number of other, smaller hydro-electric power transmission 
plants in Switzerland, then in operation, several of which were installed to 
replace rope or cable transmissions, requiring renewal, or the substitution of 
electric service to assure continuity of power that was not obtained by the 
telo-dynamic method of transmission. 


In France, hydro-electric questions were receiving more attention in electric 
than in hydraulic studies. Foremost among the early workers was Marcel 
Deprez. The progressive historical steps which he had taken in the develop- 
ment of direct-current power transmission is summarized in a letter to 



Mr. Adams, clearly written on note paper by his own hand. The letter 
follows : 


Friday, May 23, 1890 


Answering the letter that you have been good enough to write me, asking for the 
names of the publishers of my works on electricity, I beg to say that I have not written 
any systematic work dealing with that science. 

My works have been along two lines : 

1. Theoretical research work into the transmission of long-distance power, which 
appeared in the Proceedings of the Academy of Science since 1880, and also in the 
Journal de la Lumicre Electrique from 1880 to 1886 and were reprinted in the scientific 
journals of the two hemispheres, where they gave rise to most varied and contradictor}' 
discussion and comment. 

2. My experiments by which I tried to test the correctness of my theories, being in 
chronological order : 

Munich experiment, in September, 1882. Power transmission for a distance of 57 
kilometers, by an iron wire, 4*/> millimeters in diameter. 

Experiment at "Chemin de Fer du Nord" shops, February and March, 1883. 

Experimental line between Yizille and Grenoble, distance 14 kilometers; copper wire 
of 2 millimeters diameter. Power received 7 horse-power ; efficiency 48 to 60 per cent. 

Experiment which took place in 1886, between Creil and Paris. Distance 56 kilometers ; 
diameter of copper wire 5 millimeters. Power received 52 horse-power. At the final test 
there was received 80 horse-power with the electromotive force at Creil reaching 9300 
volts. Efficiency 45 per cent. 

All these experiments were checked by an Official Commission whose full reports were 
published in the Proceedings of the Academy of Science (excepting that of Grenoble- 
Vizille), and in practically all the scientific journals of the world. These latter, however, 
often gave inaccurate reports. The Official Commissions were composed of the most 
eminent authorities of our country. 

You will find all possible information covering the two first experiments (Munich and 
"Chemin de Fer du Nord") in a little volume published by Bernard-Tignol, 45 Quai des 
Grands Augustins, Paris, entitled Le Transport de la Force by Japing. 

As regards the experiments at Grenoble and Creil, the reports covering those were 
printed separately, and I have the honor of forwarding you a copy hereof. 

Finally, in 1889, I installed at Bourganeuf (Department of the Creuse, France) a 
power transmission which has been operating for a year and is showing remarkable 
results, by the strength of the installation, by the extremely small number of operatives 
(one man at the turbine that drives the generator, and one man, with an assistant, at the 
receiving end of the line) which meets all needs, and, finally, by the absolute regularity 
of operation. The distance is 15 kilometers, the wire 5 millimeters. I published complete 
details of this installation in La Lumiere Electrique, September, 1889. 



I shall publish shortly a description and a sketch of the 500 horse-power unit that I 
had constructed for the Exposition of 1889 and that I have been unable to sell as yet, 
by reason of its power being excessive for the ordinary factories. 

Si vous desirer d'autres renseignements je me ferai plaisir de 
vous le donner. 

Veuillez agreer Monsieur l'assurance de mes parfaits con- 

Marcel Deprez 

Marcel Deprez Explaining in 1883 His System of Electrical Transmission of 
Power from Paris, 8 Kilometers, to the Northern Railway Shops 

Resume of the Marcel Deprez demonstrations of power transmission 
referred to in his letter and the accompanying text. 

Dates Locations Distances in Kilometers 

1881 — Paris Exposition Local 

1882 — Munich Experiments 57 

1883 — Shops of the Northern Railway of France 8 

1884— Grenoble-Vizille 14 

1886— Creil-Paris 56 

1889 — Bourganeuf Transmission 15 



In 1881, in the Palace of Industry at the Paris Exposition, M. Deprez 
showed his electrical work for the first time. The power generated was to 
drive 27 different pieces of apparatus including sewing machines, etc. Each 
of these machines had its own little electric motor. 

One of M. Deprez's first theoretical pieces of work was published in the 
August 24, 1881, issue of La Lumiere Electrique and consisted in showing 
that with the existing machines, with the aid of a transformation, one could 
effect long-distance transmission. The calculations were based, it was stated, 
upon experiments made by English engineers at Chatham. 

It was at the beginning of the year 1882 that the committee having charge 
of the organization of the electrical exposition at Munich communicated with 
M. Deprez. Making use of an existing telegraph line, M. Deprez effected a 
transmission of 57 kilometers. It seems that the committee at Munich had 
not much confidence in the success of the experiment, but when at a given 
signal the machines got into motion, great applause greeted the feat. A series 
of accidents, due to the fact that the machines had been built for laboratory 
instead of for practical purposes, caused the machines to be put out of order 
after eight days of satisfactory performance. 

In continuation of experiments in transmission, an electric machine was built 
about the month of January, 1883. After searching for a convenient place to 
try out this machine, the Compagnie du Nord placed a transmission line at the 
disposal of the experimenters. It was here, in the shops of the Northern 
Railway of France that a transmission of 8 kilometers was obtained in 1883. 

The special committee appointed had not the means of judging the eco- 
nomic value or the future possibilities of the results obtained, but proposed to 
the Academy of Sciences that Marcel Deprez be congratulated on the im- 
portant progress which he had made. 

The Journal de la Lumiere Electrique of January 5, 1884, refers to power 
transmission by Marcel Deprez, showing that his theory of the transmission of 
power was verified by his experimentation, as well as by official reports. 

The experimental transmission of electric power by continuous current 
from Creil to Paris was made by M. Deprez in 1886. A railway locomotive 
supplied the primary power for the electric machine that generated 116 horse- 
power and sent the current 56 kilometers (35 miles) to an electric motor at the 
railway station of La Chapelle, in Paris. A scientific commission, 1 composed 
of engineers and members of the Academy of Sciences, was selected, by 

1 See L'Electrician of August 21, 1886, Report of Commission to L'Academie des Sciences on "Le trans- 
port de grandes forces motrices" by Marcel Deprez between Creil and Paris. 



request of the Messrs. Rothschild, who were financing the experiment, to 
report the results obtained by M. Deprez. 

The current of 6200 volts was transmitted on an overhead line of silicon 
bronze wire of a resistance of an ordinary telegraph wire, with an efficiency of 
about 45 per cent. Both electric machines were of the Gramme ring type. 

Although M. Deprez expected this transmission to show an efficiency of 
50 per cent, and there were unexpected difficulties of faulty insulation in 
machines and line to overcome, the commission announced the result as 
remarkable and in the name of science and industry extended its hearty con- 
gratulations to M. Deprez upon the admirable results he had obtained. 

The editorial review of this report by U Electrician states that after waiting 
five years for important developments, "the Creil-Paris experiment does not 
show any practical results and that such results may still be awaited for a 
long time." 

The hydro-electric transmission in 1889 of light and power from Les Jar- 
rauds Falls on La Maulde River, 14 kilometers to the city of Bourganeuf 
(Creuse, France) was designed by M. Deprez and may briefly be described 
from his detailed account. 1 

Hydraulic head — 31 meters. 

Turbine of horizontal axis and 130 horse-power connected by belt with the 

Speed of turbine — 150 revolutions per minute. 
Speed of generator — 650 revolutions per minute. 

Voltage of generator — 5 to 5^/o volts at speed of one revolution per minute. 
Generator of 100 horse-power capacity. 

The line wire was 5 millimeters in diameter of bar silicon bronze and carried 
on posts with porcelain insulators similar to an ordinary telegraph 
line ; with 23 ohms resistance for the 14 kilometers. 

The motor was identical with the generator. The motor drove two lighting 
machines of the Gramme type that produced 130 volts and 250 amperes 

These experiences of M. Deprez are those of a pioneer in power trans- 
mission, and to him should be accorded high honor. But in magnitude they 
were trivial compared with the Niagara project and the method of trans- 
mission by direct current at constant value was not suited to the requirements 
of a large power system. 

1 See La Lumtire EUctrique, September 21, 1889. 




The largest hydraulic and electric machines in practical use at that period, 
1890, anywhere in the world according to their makers, were the 

1000 horse-power generator, direct current, for lighting, constructed 
by Siemens and Halske of Berlin. 

600 horse-power generator, direct current, designed by Chas. E. 
L. Brown of the Oerlikon Works, Switzerland, for aluminum 

1000 horse-power single-phase alternator, direct connected, con- 
structed by Ganz & Company, of Budapest. 

14 turbines of 1000 horse-power each, made by Escher, Wyss & 
Company, of Zurich, for their installation on the Rhine near 

The electrical transmissions of power which seemed most notable and signifi- 
cant as the result of the European visits were the following: 

Marcel Deprez, the transmission of 82 horse-power, Bourganeuf to Paris, 
15 kilometers, direct current, 1889. 

Oerlikon Works, the transmission of electric power from 12 generators of 
about 70 horse-power each for drilling tunnels on the trans- Andine Railway 
in Chile, a few miles, direct current, 1891. 

Oerlikon Works, the transmission of 300 horse-power, 108 miles, by alter- 
nating current, from Lauffen to Frankfort, proposed in 1890 by C. E. L. 
Brown for the exposition the following year. 

It appeared to the American seeker after information that the greatest 
progress in power transmission was to be found on the continent where there 
were numerous examples of power transmission by direct current and where 
the possibilities of the use of alternating current for long-distance transmission 
for power as well as lighting were not only recognized but were being actively 
undertaken on a magnificent scale. There was a progressive attitude among 
engineers and manufacturers of the highest responsibility, which gave promise 
of continuing the development in which succeeding years produced greater 
achievement in amount of power and distance of transmission. 

Other methods of transmission of power were in evidence and had their 
strenuous advocates. Rope or cable transmissions were numerous in many 
countries. They were limited to about 3 miles in effective use, were irregular 
in power delivery, and their users were commencing, when in need of repair 
or replacement, to change that system for electric transmission. 



Power transmissions and distributions by compressed air or water were 
few, and those of comparative importance in power and in distance of trans- 
mission in England, France and Switzerland, had not, with few exceptions, 
shown sufficient financial success to attract additional capital. 

A very careful survey of this situation after persistent research, gave con- 
vincing evidence that the power situation was undergoing a distinct change 
in methods ; from fuels of increasing costs and irregular deliveries, to nature's 
provision of water, that was wasted continually and in many cases required 
only conduct to storage for use as desired. Practical methods of economical 
transmission of mechanical power derived from falling water gave at once a 
market for almost every waterfall, varying in value according to the cost of 
utilization and the proximity of users. 

It thus became apparent that the cataract company was duly warranted 
in proceeding with its plans for a hydraulic development of power, and that 
the facilities of Switzerland and France were ample for manufacture of the 
largest units desired. In no phase of the power problem was there greater 
interest nor was the situation progressing more rapidly than in the solution 
of methods of transmission and distribution. Hence it seemed that it might 
be possible to concentrate still further than was at first proposed the gen- 
erating apparatus for the production of the power at Niagara Falls, and 
depend more upon the distributing system. If this were feasible, the tunnel 
for discharging water from the wheel-pit need not be extended beyond the 
single power-house location at which all the power might be developed. 


The situation called for careful study and investigation ; changes in methods 
of producing and conveying and using power were taking place which gave 
promise of great extension and development; expert service was required; 
there was need of attracting the thought of the best scientists, engineers and 
manufacturers to the Niagara problem that they might evolve new methods 
and new machinery to meet unprecedented conditions. 

Two conclusions were reached, namely, that one power-house might suffice 
and the tunnel might be shorter than had been proposed, and second, that a 
scientific investigation by the representative scientists of the countries most 
concerned should be made; these prompted President Adams on May 11, 
1890, to send a cable message from Paris to Vice-president Francis Lynde 
Stetson, of the cataract company's New York office, stating that 

After careful investigation conclude practise here far ahead ours. Recommend defer 
execution construction contracts. 

Considering inviting American, English, French, Swiss houses to submit competitive 
preliminary schemes to commission composed of Sellers, Edison and English, French 



and Swiss engineers, one each. Important Sellers meet me London immediately. Cable 
views directors. 

The cable brought the answer : 

Directors present approve your plan. Edison impossible. Sellers sails Saturdaj' 
with all papers. 

With this encouragement, the development of a scientific symposium on the 
utilization of the waters of Niagara moved on apace. 

Many previous visits to the three foreign countries specially interested in 
this matter, and numerous acquaintances therein of financiers and engineers 
of influence and information, facilitated inquiries in France, Switzerland and 
England regarding machine constructors of highest rank in responsibility, and 
as to scientists desirable and available to represent their nationals. 

After presenting this program tentatively in Paris to various circles of 
French interests and to visiting engineers from Switzerland, President Adams 
went to London, where he consulted various helpful interests and introduced 
the subject to Sir William Thomson, with the suggestion that should he be 
disposed to accept the chairmanship of an International Niagara Commission, 
it would probably be offered him by the directors of the cataract company. 
Various names were submitted to him and suggested by him as desirable as- 
sociate commissioners. Details of organization and procedure were considered, 
and a further conference was arranged for a call with Dr. Coleman Sellers. 
In the interview at Cambridge, June 2, Sir William expressed his willingness 
to serve as previously suggested. 

After a week of conferences and exchange of views, Dr. Sellers and 
President Adams went to Switzerland, where they visited together the works 
previously inspected by the latter in May and conferred with the representa- 
tives of the principal Swiss engineering firms respecting the proposed com- 
mission under the chairmanship of Sir William Thomson. 

Assurances were received from those invited that they would submit 
projects and that they approved of the engineer suggested, Col. Theo. Turret- 
tini, as the representative of Swiss industries on the commission. 

At the close of this tour through industrial Switzerland with its opportuni- 
ties of considering the problems at Niagara with the many engineers in con- 
ferences, and after a review of the whole situation with the chief engineer of 
the cataract company, its president sent these cable messages to Mr. Stetson, 

Geneva, June 8, 1890 

Am convinced International Commission best course. Sir William Thomson will act 
as president. Consider convenience Stetson replacing me abroad during July August 
sailing after my return. 



Paris, June 10, 1890. No. 1 

Sellers concurs decided opinion abandon all tunnel beyond 8000 feet, also all canals 
except short surface inlet ; adopt one central station for entire power capacity tunnel 
dimensions proposed ; also agree International Commission only plan secure best 
methods, recommend pushing commission rapidly. 

Paris, June 10, 1890. No. 2 

Much valuable time saved if Stetson meet me London by twenty-fourth. Have 
arranged conditioned upon directors' approval, International Niagara Commission, 
President Sir William Thomson, Sellers, Mascart, Membre Institute, Professeur College 
France, Turrettini, Mayor Geneva. Headquarters sessions London. Principal engineers 
Europe promise compete. Cost including prizes about thirty-five thousand. 

To these messages replies were received by President Adams stating 

Directors approve proposed commission and expenditure 

and on June 24, after receiving a draft of the invitation to be issued from the 
headquarters of the commission in London and from the office of the com- 
pany in New York, the cable announced 

Directors approve invitation. 

The records of the meeting of the directors in New York on that date were 
as follows: 

Additional letters and cablegrams from President Adams and Dr. Sellers were read 
and the action proposed to be taken by Mr. Adams in relation to the International 
Commission and invitation of competitive plans and bids were approved and authority 
given to issue similar invitation to selected parties in this country. 

A fortunate opportunity then occurred for presenting the plans to the 
"money subscribers" who were in London. The minutes of the meeting follow : 



On the invitation of Mr. Adams, a meeting was held at his apartment in 
Brown's Hotel, London, Wednesday, June 18, 1890, to which were invited 
all the parties interested in the Niagara syndicate in London, viz: Dr. Cole- 
man Sellers; Vice-president Edward A. Wickes; A. J. Forbes-Leith; 

1 See Chapter XXIX, Volume II, for details of memorial established in Brown's Hotel. 



Morris K. Jesup ; Alexander Hargreaves Brown, M.P. ; Capt. Francis Pavy ; 
C. C. MacRae; Louis Floersheim; Louis Schott; Henry Oppenheim; Lord 
Rothschild; Robert R. Symon; W. Brodrick Cloete; Frederick Nettlefold; 
Ernest Cassel; Frederick W. Whitridge. 

Of these the following named gentlemen were present: Dr. Coleman 
Sellers; Edward A. Wickes; A. J. Forbes-Leith; C. C. MacRae; Robert R. 
Symon; W. Brodrick Cloete; Frederick Nettlefold. 

Mr. Adams stated : 

Since my arrival in this country, I have been giving a great deal of attention to this 
subject and as I proceeded with my investigations, my interest increased constantly and 
finally I think I am an enthusiast on the subject. About two months ago, while prose- 
cuting these investigations, I received an impression that the method we had planned 
and were on the point of carrying out, was a mistake, but I was not willing to come to 
that conclusion without the assistance of some of our consulting engineers, so I cabled 
to the other side, suggesting that they should stop work so far as it affected the pro- 
longation of the tunnel and the adoption of the plans. In order that you may under- 
stand clearly what I mean, I will indicate, by reference to the maps, the course pursued. 
The map I now show you is a government map of the Niagara River, giving the position 
of the town of Niagara and the falls, and indicating the direction of the flow of the 
river. It was the intention originally, to underrun the land of the company by a tunnel 
that passed underneath the town of Niagara and emptied into the lower river, this tunnel 
being one of sufficient capacity, in length of about 7300 feet, to meet the requirements 
of the development of about 120,000 horse-power, but it was not the intention to utilize 
that power immediately at the end of tunnel of the length given, but as the power was 
disposed of, to continue the tunnel to a total length of 13,000 feet. In order to supply 
the various mill-sites which might be scattered over this land extending several miles 
along the river, canals would be brought in at intervals. Such are indicated on this 
smaller map. These canals would overlie the tunnel and from such canals which were 
wide at their mouth but tapered towards their end, minor canals would be led to 
various wheel-pits which in turn would discharge into the tunnel. All this pointed to 
so great a cost, that it seemed to me advisable to pause before proceeding with such an 
investment, and to take advantage of what I had noticed was being done everywhere in 
Europe, to concentrate the source of power at some one place and from that one source 
of power to transmit it to the factories either upon our own land or the land adjacent 
thereto, or in fact to a still greater distance to Tonawanda or Buffalo or anywhere 
within the radius of the possible transportation of power economically. By this means, 
I satisfied myself that of the various methods of transmitting power, some one, or more 
might be adopted that would enable the mill owners to be as perfectly independent as if 
they each had their own wheel beneath their mill as originally planned. In other words, 
that the power being carried by electricity could be transmitted to the mill and there 
operate electric motors that would be as efficient as the best steam engines. The same 
obtains in reference to other modes of transmission, whether by rapidly running cables, 
by hydraulic power or by compressed air. At all events, I came to the conclusion that I 



was right in the idea that the application of modern science on the continent of Europe 
had changed the whole methods of hydraulic working and transmission of power, and 
that our true way possibly might be to build this tunnel and develop the whole in this 
one central station, transmitting the power, as I have already indicated, to different 
places. Upon receipt of my dispatch, I was glad to find by the reply that no contracts 
had yet been made for the excavation of these canals. I therefore asked that Dr. Sellers 
should come over and assist me in determining this question. He came very promptly ; 
I met him here in London, where we spent a week or ten days and then proceeded to the 
continent from whence we have just returned after a tour in Switzerland and France 
where we have been in consultation with all the engineers who are practical men, and I 
will now ask him to explain to you the various steps by which his judgment is now, 
I believe, in entire accord with my own, as to the best course. 

He then introduced Dr. Sellers, who gave a lengthy explanation of the 
changes proposed, the reasons therefor and the economies expected. Among 
other things, he called attention to the enormous cost of the one canal which 
had been designed, primarily, for the utilization of 20,000 horse-power and 
ultimately, by a still further extension of the tunnel, to a total of only 48,000 
horse-power. He stated that so far as he had been able to judge, it seemed 
to him that the cost of this immense excavation, which was a small river in 
itself, would go very far towards developing the whole of the 120,000 horse- 
power and inasmuch as the shortening of the tunnel would also heighten the 
available fall, that could be done by the wheels increasing that fall from 110 
to 140 feet, thus diminishing the total volume of water required per horse- 
power; that the tunnel as designed would be sufficient to fully satisfy at least 
130,000 horse-power developed at one central location; that it was scarcely 
worth while to call attention to the still greater saving of doing away with these 
many other canals which would have to be added to the first one to complete 
the total planned ; that the more he looked into this scheme which was proposed 
by Mr. Adams, the more thoroughly he was convinced of its correctness, and 
that he had found his labor in this investigation very much diminished by the 
very thorough manner in which Mr. Adams had accumulated the facts that 
pointed so conclusively towards this method of procedure. 

Following Dr. Sellers remarks Mr. Adams explained his plan for an Inter- 
national Commission, drawing from the gentlemen present a quite strong 
expression of opinion as to the economy with which he had effected so brilliant 
a combination of talent as was expressed in the union of the gentlemen repre- 
senting England, France and Switzerland. 

An animated discussion of the subject by the gentlemen present, who asked 
many questions and seemed well satisfied with the replies, was unanimous in 
approval of the modification of the original plans and also of the commission 
as proposed. 



The meeting was in session about two hours, and from the notes of remarks, 
taken by Mr. F. Rose, 1 the preceding summary has been made. 

A full explanation of the changes in the plan and the commission proposed, 
was sent by Mr. Adams from Paris, June 12, 1890, to J. Pierpont Morgan, 
Grand Hotel, Aix-les-Bains, who telegraphed his reply to Mr. Adams as 
follows : 

Aix-les-Bains, June 20, 1890 

Edward D. Adams, Brown's Hotel, Dover Street, London. 

As well as can judge, your whole plan meets my entire approval. 


The further evolution of the plans for the power station and transmission 
system will be found in subsequent chapters in Volume Two, relating to the 
construction and operation of the hydraulic and the electric systems. 

Author op Niagara Power, Sole Surviving Pioneer Director of The Cataract 
Construction Company in Niagara Room, Brown's Hotel, London, August, 1926 

1 A secretarial expert who served the commission in London, and later accepted an appointment with 
the company in Niagara and New York. 


— B— I WW 









United States of America 

Lt.-Col. theo. turrettini 



by The Cataract Construction Company, EDWARD DEAN ADAMS, president, 1890-1910 


Tablet on Inside of Entrance Door of the Niagara Room, Brown's Hotel, 
Dover Street, London, Erected 1926, in Commemoration of the 
Organization of the International Niagara Commission 




Chapter X 

The International Niagara Commission 
1890— London— 1891 

3 — Sir William Thomson*, ll.d., f.r.s. 

1 — Prof. E. Mascart 4 — Dr. Coleman Sellers 

2 — Prof. W. C. Unwix, Secretary 5 — Col. Theo. Tuhrettini 




THE purpose of the International Niagara Commission was to conduct a 
scientific symposium on the development of power at Niagara Falls, 
which would attract the best scientific and engineering knowledge and experi- 
ence of those most competent to be found in the nations of the world. 

The Cataract Construction Company issued June 25, 1890, a letter of in- 
vitation from the temporary office of the commission at London, and from the 
administration offices of the company in New York. A letter of eleven pages 
enclosed a list of its accompanying documents. As the substance of this com- 
munication is contained in the comprehensive and lucid report of the secretary 
of the commission which will be found in full in Appendix E, this volume, 
the first and last pages only of the letter are reproduced here. 

The plan in brief outline was designed to ascertain the best system for the 
Niagara enterprise in the opinion of the highest available scientific authorities. 

The members of the commission were five in number, two from England 
and one each from France, Switzerland and United States, and may be 
described as follows: 

Sir William Thomson, ll.d., f.r.s., President of Commission, The 
University, Glasgow. 

Coleman Sellers, e.d., m. inst. c. e., etc., Philadelphia. 

Professor Engineering Practise, Stevens Institute of Tech- 
nology, Hoboken, New Jersey. 

Professor of Mechanics, Franklin Institute of State of Penn- 

E. Mascart, Membre de lTnstitut, Paris. 
Professeur au College de France. 
Directeur du Bureau Central Meteorologique. 

Theodore Turrettini, Ingenieur, Geneva. 
Lieutenant-Colonel d'Artillerie. 
President de la Ville de Geneve. 

Directeur des Travaux d'Utilisation des Forces Motrices du 

Rhone a Geneve. 
Directeur de la Societe Genevoise d'Instruments de Physique. 



Wm. Cawthorne Unwin, f.r.s., m. inst. c.e., London. 
Secretary of Commission. 

Professor of Engineering at the Central Institute of the City 
Guilds of London. 

At a meeting of organization when all parties were present, Sir 
William Thomson was chosen president and Professor Unwin, 

At the first meeting of the commission at his apartment in Brown's Hotel, 
London, on June 21, Mr. Adams presented for consideration the draft of 
a letter of invitation and explained the various plans and maps that it was 
intended should accompany the invitation. He stated the necessity for his 
departure for New York on June 25, and that he would be represented, 
during his absence, at first by Edward A. Wickes, then in London, and 
later by Francis Lynde Stetson, both vice-presidents, who would soon come 
from America with an associated official of The Cataract Construction 
Company. Mr. Adams asked that these gentlemen be invited to attend the 
different meetings of the commission, not as members, but as listeners and 
spectators, that they might thereby be informed of the progress of its activities 
and make the acquaintance of the participants and their expert assistants. 

At the second meeting of the commission, the letter of invitation was 
again revised and the list of those to whom the invitation was to be sent, 
was prepared, each member of the commission suggesting the names for 
the country he represented. On June 24, the third meeting was held, at 
which the final draft of the invitation, in English and French, was adopted, 
and the list of those to be invited was approved, including the following 
nationals: America, five, England, seven, France, nine, Switzerland, six, and 
Hungary, one, being twenty-eight in all. 



Administration Offices, Mills Building, New York 

Coleman Sellers, E.D. \ 

John Bogart, New York> Consulting Engineers 

State Engineer / 
Clemens Herschel, Hydraulic Engineer 
Albert H. Porter, Niagara Falls, New 
York, Resident Engineer 

Edward D. Adams, President 
Francis Lynde Stetson 
Edward A. Wickes 
George H. Kent, Treasurer 

V ice-presidents 


Telegraphic Address London, June 25, 1890. 

"Niagara, London." 


The Cataract Construction Company having completed its organisation and financial 
arrangements in the United States of America is desirous of securing the best possible 
technical advice as to plans for carrying out the purpose it has in view, from the best 
houses at home and abroad. To this end, it offers a series of prizes to a number of 
carefully selected Engineers and Engineering houses or Companies of America, Great 
Britain, France, Switzerland, and elsewhere for the best practicable engineering scheme 
or project. 

You are therefore invited to submit projects for the development, transmission and 
distribution of about 125,000 effective horse-power on the shafts of water motors at 
the Falls of Niagara, to the consideration of an International Niagara Commission, 
holding its sessions at Central Institute, Exhibition Road, London. 

*lr <Sf *lf a|» -If vt* *J' il- ik, jfc, 1 

y[? yf; Vff *T* 5|F ~ fr tjc 

For additional information application should be made in person, by mail or wire 
to the Secretary of the Commission, or if more convenient to the individual members of 
the Commission. 

In acknowledging the receipt hereof please inform me if you will enter the Competition. 

Respectfully yours, 

Cataract Construction Company 
Edward D. Adams 

After issuing the letter of invitation asking that projects be presented, 
there was much correspondence and numerous visits from those intending to 
participate. The headquarters of the commission were established at the 
Central Institute, South Kensington, Exhibition Road, London, by the 
courtesy of its owners, the City and Guilds of London for the advancement 

1 It is believed that all data necessary for a complete understanding of this program will be found in 
the four pages of the Letter of Invitation in the Appendix, where the full report of the International 
Niagara Commission may also be read. 



of technical education. There were many conferences with the officials and 
engineers of the cataract company who were in London during that period. 
Members of the commission, with the American engineers, visited many fac- 
tories and installations of power apparatus in England and on the continent 
while the projects were being prepared. 


The most serious problem in the Niagara enterprise was involved in the 
transmission and distribution of power. The members of the commission 
therefore made special inquiry as to methods of power transmission then in 
use, both by visits to various installations and by conferences with experts 
and advocates. They examined non-electrical methods and sought com- 
parison with electrical operation, having in mind not only what was then in 
operation but what might be developed. 

In the latter part of July, Commissioners Mascart, of France, and Turret- 
tini, of Switzerland, made jointly a tour of inspection of the hydro-electric 
and other works of machine construction and operation in France and 

Vice-president Stetson and Engineer Bogart commenced on August 22 
a series of visits in Switzerland and France, ending in Paris, September 6, 
and going over practically the same territory covered by the previous visits of 
President Adams and Chief Engineer Sellers. 

Personal acquaintance with many of those who were preparing plans to 
submit to the commission facilitated better understanding of the conditions 
at Niagara, and prompted an extension of the time for filing such projects 
to January 1, 1891. 

Much time was devoted, while in Paris, to a careful examination of the com- 
pressed air system, then in operation under the direction of Victor Popp and 
the guidance of Prof. A. Riedler, of Berlin, an exponent of the art, and his 
consulting engineer. 

This method of power transmission was further examined in England, at 
Birmingham, under the guidance of John Sturgeon, of Chester, and Professor 
Lupton, of Leeds. The uses of compressed air at Chester and elsewhere of less 
importance were also observed. 

One of the largest users of compressed air in Birmingham said that he con- 
sidered it the best practicable power and when asked if he thought it better 
than electricity answered, "Oh, I say nothing about electricity now; I 
use this until the coming of electricity which I believe is the great power of 
the future." 



The electrical station at Deptf ord, transmitting light by alternating current 
to Grosvenor Gallery, London, was visited by all the company's representa- 
tives from time to time, and the views of Mr. Ferranti, its designer, were 
found of much interest in their relation to compressed air and alternating 
current at high pressure in the generation as well as in the transmission of 
large amounts of power to considerable distances. 

Professor Rowland, of Baltimore, and Professor Riedler, of Berlin, were 
among those who discussed with Mr. Ferranti in London, the relative ad- 
vantages of compressed air and electricity for power transmission. Professor 
Riedler said to Mr. Ferranti that if his statements were well founded there 
could be no question that electricity must prevail over compressed air. 

Lord Armstrong, at that period considered the apostle of hydraulics in 
England, in a conference with Sir William Thomson (Lord Kelvin) who 
related the conditions of the Niagara project for the transmission of power 
and the organization of the International Niagara Commission to consider 
the subject, was reported to have said: 

I do not think you can look for much good to be gained by hydraulic transmission ; 
the wonderful progress that has been made in electricity of late, would seem to me to 
indicate that you will have to rely almost wholly on electrical transmission. 

Clemens Herschel, hydraulic engineer of the cataract company, went at 
its request to London, October 8, for a conference with Chief Engineer 
Sellers, Professor LTnwin and George F. Deacon, hydraulic engineer of 
Liverpool, regarding various characteristics of the proposed tunnel. Several 
days were passed in critical examinations of all the questions involved in 
determining its various dimensions. 

An agreement was reached unanimously and Mr. Herschel sailed for home 
on the 15th, ready to give precise figures in working drawings for the contract, 
already prepared for the construction of the tunnel. 

The beginning of the tunnel at this time before the method of distributing 
power had been determined, and when it appeared that no existing system 
was adequate to the large scale operation proposed at Niagara, was considered 
a bold step; it involved a great risk; it was based on faith in the ability of 
scientific and engineering skill to solve the new problems. 

Mr. Stetson departed for home October 29, having passed more than three 
months in England and on the continent in his search for information to 
guide his judgment as to what course was for the best interest of the stock- 
holders of The Cataract Construction Company to pursue in the furtherance 
of its enterprise at Niagara Falls. 



Dr. Sellers wrote after Mr. Stetson's departure : 

I part with him with regret, missing continually his active and unwearied attention 
and wise direction of the business of the company. His orderly, legal mind and his ad- 
ministrative ability have been shown in all the correspondence and conferences that have 
led up to the present assured feeling that the first important steps are right. 

In the latter part of November, Dr. Sellers left London for an extended 
tour in France and Italy for the purpose of visiting engineering works and 
installations not previously seen and incidentally of making the acquaintance 
of the engineers connected therewith. 

The visit in Rome, with Prof. G. Mengarini, the electrical engineer, and 
the study of his Tivoli-Rome transmission project proved of great interest 
and profit. Professor Mengarini was a member of the commission of ex- 
perts to examine, test and report on the Lauffen-Prankfort transmission of 
1891. He was particularly esteemed in electrical engineering circles for his 
advanced work on electrolysis and alternating currents. 

The Tivoli-Rome transmission is 18 miles in length. The so-called "new" 
falls are 334 feet high. The hydro-electric plant was built by Ganz & Company 
of Budapest, and was placed in operation in July, 1892. A full report regard- 
ing the Tivoli project as designed was made by Dr. Sellers. 

He returned to London late in December to assist Professor Unwin in the 
distribution of the duplicate copies of the competition projects received by 
January 1, 1891 for the International Niagara Commission. A complete set 
of all maps and plans, as well as a copy of the memoirs, or explanatory text, 
was to be provided for each commissioner in order that he might have full 
opportunity for study prior to the assembling of the full commission for their 


There were fifteen European and five American competitors represented 
by the project received. Several projects were not entered in the competition 
because of failure to comply with the important conditions imposed by the 
terms of the Letter of Invitation. 

The competitors were duly notified upon the receipt of their projects that 
the commission would meet to consider them on Thursday, January 29, 1891, 
and daily thereafter as might become necessary to decide the competition and 
award the prizes, and that any competitors who desired to attend the meeting 
could do so. 

Quite a number of the competitors availed themselves of the opportunity to 
attend the first three sessions of the commission, the continental competitors 
generally being accompanied by their technical experts. 



The commissioners were in full attendance, sat for about seven hours daily, 
for six days without a break, and reached their final conclusions on 
February 4, 1891. 

Clemens Herschel, hydraulic engineer, and Albert H. Porter, resident 
engineer, were present by invitation at all sessions, and rendered valued 
assistance by personal explanations of local conditions at that time in Niagara, 
and by entertaining the foreign engineers between sessions, for which the 
familiarity of Mr. Herschel with French and German, which he spoke fluently 
in technical terms, was much appreciated. 

Daily reports of the proceedings of the commission in session were made 
to the New York office of the company by Messrs. Herschel and Porter. 
Dr. Sellers presented a full report in March, to the cataract company upon 
his return to New York, after an absence in Europe for about nine months, 
solely in the interests of the company. 

The formal duty for which the commission was organized was now per- 
formed by the award of prizes among the competitors. In the final conclusions 
there was almost entire unanimity. 

Seventeen projects were submitted by the twenty represent- 
atives of six countries: America, England, Switzerland, 
France, Germany, and Hungary. Three projects were 
rejected as irregular and fourteen projects were considered 
in the competition. 

Awards of prizes were made as follows 1 : Four for pneumatic 
projects, four for electric projects. Eight prizes awarded: 
two to Switzerland, two to France, one to Germany and 
France combined, one to England, one to Hungary, and one 
to America. 

No first prize was awarded for a combined project for hydraulic develop- 
ment and electrical distribution of power. There was no project which, in the 
opinion of the commission, could be recommended for adoption without con- 
siderable modification. 

The highest prize awarded for combined projects for hydraulic develop- 
ment and electrical distribution of power went to Messrs. Faesch and Piccard, 2 
and Cuenod, Sautter & Company, both of Geneva. 

1 List of Awards is given in Part III of the Report by Secretary Unwin. Appendix E, Volume I. 

2 A contract was subsequently made with Faesch and Piccard, by which complete working drawings 
were made for a 5000 horse-power turbine and governor. The entire turbine installation, of ten units of 
5000 horse-power each, in Power-house Number One, was manufactured in America from these same 
designs of Faesch and Piccard. 



The first prize for projects for hydraulic development was awarded to 
Escher, Wyss & Company, of Zurich. 1 

No prize was awarded for system of distribution. 

Premiums were awarded to all competitors who, in the ojjinion of the 
commission, complied with the terms of the Letter of Invitation. 

For Combined Projects 

premiums of £200 each were awarded to eight competitors. 

For Hydraulic Projects for Developing Power 

premiums of £100 each were awarded to four competitors. 

For Projects for Distributing Power 

premiums of £100 each were awarded to two competitors. 

Five American projects were presented to the commission for considera- 
tion as candidates for prizes and premiums : 

Brush Electric Light and Power Company of Niagara Falls, 
Benjamin Rhodes, Manager. Hydraulic and electric trans- 
mission of power. 

Norwalk Iron Works Company of Norwalk, Connecticut, 
Eben Hill, president. Transmission of power by compressed 
air. Pelton Water Wheel Company combining for hy- 

Pelton Water Wheel Company of San Francisco, California. 

Stillwell and Bierce Manufacturing Company of Dayton, 
Ohio, Turbines. 

Swain Turbine and Manufacturing Company of Lowell,Massa- 

The projects of the Pelton Water Wheel Company and of the Norwalk 
Iron Works Company were the only American projects that complied with 
the conditions of the competition. Each of these projects received a prize of 
£200, and each of them a premium of £100. 

The total expenditures in England, France, Switzerland, Belgium and 
Germany, for engineering fees, machinery and materials resulting directly 

1 Later Escher, Wyss & Company, of Zurich, designed working drawings for a 5500 horse-power 
turbine, from which eleven units were constructed in America as the full hydraulic equipment of Power- 
house Number Two. 

This firm also furnished drawings for a 10,000 horse-power turbine and received an order for the 
manufacture of three of these machines complete, including shafting and governors, at their works 
in Zurich, for the Canadian power-house. Two additional turbines made in America were of this design, 
for which Escher, Wyss & Company made the governors of the same model as those furnished with the 
three machines made in Zurich. 



from the International Niagara Commission, amounted to about $430,000, 
not including the salaries and expenses of several members of the board of 
engineers and officers of The Cataract Construction Company attending the 
sessions of the commission and in connection therewith. 

The payments made to foreign consulting engineers during the years 
1891-1893, including the expenses of the commission, amounted to $75,872, 
not including additional payments made after 1893, from time to time, for 
expert advice by foreign constructing as well as consulting engineers. 1 


As soon as practicable after the commission had adjourned and its affairs 
had been brought to a conclusion, Prof. W. C. Unwin, secretary of the com- 
mission, presented his report on the projects submitted to the International 
Niagara Commission accompanied by the following statement: 

London, April 13, 1891. 

The Cataract Construction Company having asked for a report on the plans sub- 
mitted to the commission, the secretary has prepared the following statement. The 
commission having separated, it is not possible to have an official report carrying the 
authority of the commission. 

The report 2 is in three parts. The first sets forth the power problem at 
Niagara which was the basis for the invitation for projects and a summary 
of the projects received; the second is a detailed abstract of the projects re- 
ceived and the final part lists the award of prizes and premiums and states 
the general conclusions. 

The report not only presents a vital episode in the history of The Niagara 
Falls Power Company but it is a historic document presenting in an authorita- 
tive way the state of the art of power transmission at the beginning of 1891. 
The fact that none of the proposals for distribution of power was regarded as 
worthy of a prize or adequate to the requirements at Niagara and the fact that 
a little over two years later a system was adopted which is in universal practise 
makes clear the great step that was taken at Niagara. It was a step which 
called for courage — the courage of leadership. 


On the evening of February 4, 1891, the day on which the commission com- 
pleted its labors, the president of The Cataract Construction Company and 
the president of the commission exchanged greetings by cable : 
Sir William Thomson, London 

The directors of the Cataract company thank you and your associates for your 
careful consideration and decisions. We believe the International Niagara Commission 

1 For details of total foreign expenditures of $430,000, see Appendix O, Volume II. 

2 Appendix E, Volume I. 



will become of historical importance in the annals of industrial progress, and mark an 
epoch of international fraternity in the solution of great scientific problems. We most 
cordially invite you all to the opening ceremonies. 

Cataract Construction Company, New York 

La commission en terminant ses travaux adresse a, Monsieur Adams ses vifs remerci- 

ments pour les relations si courtoises qu'elle a trouvees aupres de lui. Elle exprime tous 

ses voeux pour le succes de l'entreprise du Niagara. 

1 1 6 Thomson. 

At the last session of the commission a resolution was recorded expressing 
the appreciative thanks of its members to Professor Unwin for his untiring 
and valuable services as secretary. 

After the last official meeting of the International Niagara Commission 
and prior to the members' separation after the award of the prizes and bonuses, 
the president of the commission, Sir William Thomson, entertained his as- 
sociate commissioners at dinner, at the Whitehall Club, London, to which he 
invited several of the prominent scientists, engineers and financiers of England 
and several from the continent. 

Niagara as a topic, the proceedings of the commission, and the probable 
results of its action, were found of extraordinary interest. 

Messrs. Herschel and Porter made a visit in February to Switzerland and 
Paris to meet some of the competitors and to learn their reaction from the 
sessions and conclusions of the commission. It may be expressed as follows: 

Electricity or compressed air for transmission of power: alternating 
current attractive. 

Central station development and distribution approved. 

Larger and still larger prime movers and generators or compressors 
as new projects are prepared. 

Foreign engineers expected to assist in the organization and installa- 
tion at Niagara Falls. 

General satisfaction with the organization of the commission and 
its fairness and liberality in dealing with the contestants. 

After calling upon the engineers, who had shown an interest in the Niagara 
enterprise, at Geneva, Winterthur, Zurich, Oerlikon, Paris and London, they 
sailed for New York, February 11, 1891, thus ending the eastward pilgrimage 
for scientific information applicable to the utilization of the waters of Niagara 



Messrs. Unwin and Turrettini, of the International Niagara Commission, 
visited the Frankfort Exhibition in the interest, partially at least, of the 
Niagara project, and both were subsequently retained by the cataract com- 
pany as foreign consulting engineers. They made several visits to Niagara 
and assisted personally in the company's consideration of the electrical system 
to be adopted. Their counsels were greatly valued in the determination of the 

Imp. Ch. Wittmann 

E. Mascart 


efficiency of the turbine and generator designs submitted to the company 
by the foreign and American manufacturers. 

In his report of March 6, 1891, Dr. Coleman Sellers, chief engineer, wrote 
The Cataract Construction Company: 

What has been accomplished by means of the International Commission may be ex- 
pressed in few words. It has shown us what we can reasonably hope to do ; it has shown 
us in a degree how to do what is wanted and where we can expect to get what we require 



to do the work. It has brought the scheme before the world with a prestige that cannot 
be measured by dollars ; it has enlisted the interest of the whole scientific world ; it has 
made this company command the confidence of the world and won for its management 
respect, as wise, far-seeing, cautious business men and not followers of any one or more 
visionary schemer or inventor. 

Prof. E. Mascart, the commissioner from France, wrote from Paris, June 
29, 1891: 

Cette grande entreprise marquera une date importante dans l'histoire des applica- 
tions de Pelectricite et je tiens pour un grand honneur d'y avoir pris une part, si petite 
qu'ellesoit. E MASCART 

Bureau Central Meteorologique 

Andre Hillairet 1 

Ingenieur des Arts et Manufactures 
Ancien President des Ingenienrs Civils de France 
Ancien President de la Societe Francaise des Electriciens 
Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur 

Designer of the only Project of 10,000 Horse-power Units 
Submitted to the International Niagara Commission 

1 See Appendix E, pages 421, 443 and 444. 




Chapter XI 

(In Four Parts) 

Contributed by 
Frederick L. Lovelace, a Director and Secretary of 
The Niagara Falls Power Company 

The Rights 
to take water for power purposes by 


are based upon grants to its constituent companies 
and its subsequent federal license 

The Niagara Falls Power Company, chartered in 1886 under name of Ni- 
agara River Hydraulic Tunnel, Power and Sewer Company. 

Hydraulic Power Company of Niagara Falls and its predecessor, The 
Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company, char- 
tered in 1878. 

Canadian Niagara Power Company, Limited. 

These rights, in various legal forms, are derived from 
The Common Law, 
The State of New York, 
The Congress of United States, 
The War Department of United States, 
The Federal Water Power Commission, 
Province of Ontario, Canada, 
Dominion of Canada, 

and are described herein by 

Frederick L. Lovelace, Secretary, 
The Niagara Falls Power Company. 


Part I 


THE Niagara Falls Power Company produces the power furnished by it 
by utilizing the energy of the flow or fall of the Niagara River from the 
level above the upper rapids to that immediately below the Great Falls. 

Water is diverted from the river channel about a mile above the American 
Falls. After being passed through hydraulic turbines all the diverted water 
is returned to its natural course in the first pool below that falls. 

The company owns the uplands along the shore of the river and lands under 
water at the places of water diversion and for a distance of about 2 miles 
up the American shore. It also owns the shore lands where the water is 
returned below the falls and for a considerable distance above the points 
of discharge. The only American shores owned by others between the places 
of diversion where now made and return are lands within the New York 
State Reservation at Niagara, where the fee of the lands is in the State of 
New York, which by acts of its legislature has consented to such diversion. 
In addition to the state reservation lands about 165 feet, known as the "Ten- 
Rod Strip" (now a part of Porter Park), intervene between the intake and 
discharge of the company's "Niagara" plant. It was formerly owned by 
The Niagara Falls Power Company (constituent) and by it donated to the 
city of Niagara Falls to be used only for purposes of a park and a public dock, 
the company having reserved to itself and its successors the property and 
rights therein necessary for the production of power. 


The right of the company so to divert and use the water of the river is based 

1. upon ownership of (a) the uplands and bank of the stream where 

water is diverted, (b) abutting lands under water, and (c) 
shore lands where the water is returned ; 

2. upon (a) a grant by the State of New York to one of the constit- 

uent corporations, (b) a specific declaration and confirmation 
by the state of the rights exercised by another of the constituent 
corporations, and (c) the consent of the state that all the rights 



of the constituent corporations may be enjoyed by the present 
(consolidated) company, and treated in this Part I; 

3. upon a 50-year license of the Federal Power Commission, acting 
by authority of the Congress, treated in Part III. 


The first ("1" above) is a right inherent in, pertaining to, and a part of, the 
company's real property. It is wholly independent of rights not appurtenant 
to the lands obtained through governmental grants, licenses or otherwise, 
but is not repugnant thereto. Both this property right and such grants and 
licenses and their confirmation are limited by certain paramount rights of the 
public in the stream, the most important of which is navigation. Excepting 
in respect of such paramount public rights under the Common Law as it pre- 
vails in the State of New York the riparian owner may divert upon his lands 
water for manufacturing purposes without other restriction than the physical 
limitation of the particular location and rights of other riparian owners. 

In the case under consideration the State of New York, which is the private 
proprietor of the lands in the state reservation at Niagara, is the only other 
riparian owner on the American side of the river whose rights could be af- 
fected. By statutory enactment, the state has expressly consented to such 
water diversion and has thereby waived any conflicting rights of its private 
riparian ownership. 

Rights of the owners of shore lands were defined in an opinion of the New 
York Court of Appeals, as follows : 

The rule of law is familiar that each owner of land contiguous to a natural water- 
course has a right, as owner of such land and as naturally connected with and incident 
to it, to the natural flow of the stream along his land and its descent, and all the force to 
be derived therefrom, for any domestic or hydraulic purpose to which he may decide to 
apply it. He may, by means of a ditch or conduit, withdraw water from the stream 
and cause it to flow unnaturally through his land for agricultural, industrial or other 
purpose, provided he causes it, in its substantial volume to return upon his land to the 
stream. . . . Every owner is bound to use the water reasonably as it flows so as not to 
injure the equal rights of all the owners. Whether or not a use or detention of the water 
is reasonable must be determined by the extent and capacity of the stream, the uses 
to which it is and lias been put and the rights that other owners on the stream have. . . . 
The rights involved in the instant dispute arose from the lateral contact of the 
lands of Thomson and Dix with the waters of the river, arrested and restrained by 
the dam. The navigability of the river or the ownership of the soil over which the 
waters flow neither increase nor diminish rights of such a nature. They are at no point 
of the discussion here connected with the right of navigation or other public right or with 
the occupation or use of the bed of the stream. The right to the use of the water of a 



flowing stream, navigable or unnavigable, arises by mere operation of law as incident to 
the ownership of the bank and is a part of the estate of its owner. . . . It is a valuable 
property right which can be severed from the riparian land by grant, condemnation, re- 
linquishment or prescription. Thomson and Dix as owners of the single tract might 
release it or grant it to another or restrict or reserve it as owners of the single tract to 
specified uses or places. 

The United Paper Board Company vs. Iroquois Pulp and Paper Company 
(decided March, 1919) 226 N. Y. 38 


The use of the water of the Niagara River in power production and the 
construction of extensive works for such use by the corporations which were 
consolidated into The Niagara Falls Power Company in 1918 (including 
predecessors of one of them ) , proceeded from the time of the first use through 
the hydraulic canal (construction of which was begun in 1852) until the year 
1892, and on the part of one company until 1896, in reliance mainly upon their 
respective proprietary rights as riparian owners. 

The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company, the 
immediate predecessor in title of Hydraulic Power Company of Niagara Falls 

(one of the constituent corporations of The Niagara Falls Power Company, 
mcmxviii) was incorporated by Jacob F. Schoellkopf and associates in 1878 
under the laws of New York. It succeeded by purchase to the title of the hy- 
draulic canal and the other property and rights of the "Day" hydraulic power 
development. The lands owned by it consisted, mainly, of ( 1 ) uplands and 
lands under water at Port Day about a mile above the American Falls adjoin- 
ing what is now the upper limit of the New York State Reservation at Niagara, 

(2) a large tract fronting on the lower river, and (3) a connecting strip 100 
feet wide granted for hydraulic canal purposes by the owners of the inter- 
vening shore lands. Through this 100-foot strip the "Day" or "hydraulic" 
canal diverted water from the upper river and led it to a receiving basin near 
the high bank of the lower river on the large tract mentioned. The construction 
of the canal had been started in 1852. From time to time after the year 1857, 
when the canal was sufficiently completed for use, mills had been built on its 
terminal basin, taking water therefrom for power production and discharging 
the spent water through the high bank into the lower river. 

The State of New York by an act of its legislature, Chapter 968 of the 
laws of 1896, "recognized, declared and confirmed" the right of The Niagara 
Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company to take and use the 
water of the Niagara River and to develop power therefrom and sell the same. 
The act expressly limited and restricted the confirmation of the rights of the 



company to the use by the company of "such quantity of water as may be 
drawn by means of the hydraulic canal of said company when enlarged 
throughout its entire length to a width of 100 feet and to a depth and slope 
sufficient to carry at all times a maximum uniform depth of 14 feet of water," 
and also contained a proviso that the exercise by the company of the "rights 
hereby declared and confirmed shall not impair the practical navigation of the 
Niagara River." 

In a decision of the New York Supreme Court, affirmed by the Appellate 
Division of that court and by the Court of Appeals, it was held that The Niag- 
ara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company had property 
rights, as distinguished from a "franchise," entitling it to divert water from 
the river for power production. 

In its opinion the Court stated: 

The relator, as a riparian owner, and as owner of the lands under the waters of the 
Niagara River adjacent to its uplands from which the water is immediately taken, has 
the right to the use of the waters of the river for manufacturing purposes, and to divert 
the same for that purpose, returning them to the river as it does after passing over its 
own lands ; . . . subject only to the paramount right of the state to utilize these waters 
for a public use, without compensation to such riparian owners ; all riparian rights 
remaining unimpaired until the exercise of such paramount right by the state. This being 
so, it appears that the relator, as riparian owner, had the right to take waters from the 
Niagara River for manufacturing purposes, not interfering thereby with the naviga- 
bility of the stream, such right being in no sense in the nature of a franchise but a corpo- 
real hereditament, not depending either upon grant or prescription. . . . And this view 
of the relator's rights is confirmed by the act of 1896 (Chapter 968) . . . which in 
terms confirms and defines the riparian rights of the relator. 

The People ex rel. Niagara Falls Hy. Power & Mfg. Co. vs. Smith 
70 App. Div. 513, affirmed 175 N. Y. 469 

The Niagara Falls Power Company (the constituent corporation of that 
name) was chartered March 31, 1886, under the name of "The Niagara River 
Hydraulic Tunnel, Power & Sewer Company" by an act of the legislature of 
the State of New York, Chapter 83 of the laws of 1886. Its charter was 
amended or enlarged by subsequent acts, as follows: 

(1) Chapter 489 of the laws of 1886; 

(2) Chapter 109 of the laws of 1889; 

(3) Chapter 253 of the laws of 1891 ; 

(4) Chapter 513 of the laws of 1892; 

(5) Chapter 477 of the laws of 1893. 

Its name was changed to The Niagara Falls Power Company by an order 
of the New York Supreme Court entered November 11, 1889. 



Construction of the company's works was begun in 1890. Actual electric 
power production began in 1895. 

The charter as originally enacted had declared that the corporation was con- 
stituted a body corporate and politic for the purpose of "constructing, main- 
taining, and operating in connection with the Niagara River an hydraulic 
tunnel . . . and for furnishing hydraulic power for manufacturing pur- 
poses." It provides, among other things, that the company should have the 
power to construct, operate and maintain for its corporate purposes a tunnel, 
conduits, or sewers as specified in the act, or under the waters of the Niagara 
River, provided such structures are so laid as not to interfere with navigation 
of the river. 

While clear that the legislature understood and intended that the company 
was being chartered for the express purpose of producing power by use of 
water diverted from the Niagara River, neither the original act nor any of 
the earlier amendatory acts contained a grant for such purpose in explicit 
terms. It was assumed that the common law right of a riparian owner was 
adequate for that purpose. 

In 1892, the State of New York by an act of its legislature (Chapter 513 of 
1892) granted The Niagara Falls Power Company, its successors and assigns, 
the "right to take and use the waters of the Niagara River ... at any points 
on or opposite to any riparian land now owned by said corporation ... to 
the extent required for the proper operation of the authorized works of said 
corporation during the continuance of such works." 

The grant provided that nothing contained therein or in any of the 
former acts concerning the corporation should be construed "to confer an 
exclusive right nor any right to infringe upon the state reservation or to 
obstruct the navigation of the Niagara River, or to take therefrom more 
water than shall be sufficient to produce 200,000 effective horse-power." 

Besides having sovereign jurisdiction, the state had rights as a private ri- 
parian owner between the places of diversion and return. Its consent as such 
riparian owner to water diversion as made by the company was thus obtained. 

While the bill (later enacted as Chapter 513 of 1892) was pending in the 
legislature, the Hon. Andrew H. Green, then president of the Board of Com- 
missioners of the state reservation at Niagara, called the attention of the 
governor and of the attorney-general of the state to the terms and conditions 
of the grant, which he intimated would likely constitute a contract between 
the state and the company. Such a probability was expressly recognized by 
the attorney-general in his formal published opinion (Report of Attorney- 
General for the year 1892; Opinions, page 106) . When it became a law The 



Niagara Falls Power Company filed with the Secretary of State of the State 
of New York its acceptance of the grant and of the terms and conditions upon 
which it was made and the original company and its successor company have 
complied fully with the terms of the act. 

The present The Niagara Falls Power Company was formed in October, 
1918, by consolidation, pursuant to Chapter 596 of the laws of 1918, of Cliff 
Electrical Distributing Company (incorporated 1909), The Niagara Falls 
Power Company (incorporated 1886), and Hydraulic Power Company of 
Niagara Falls (incorporated 1910) . 

Chapter 597 of the laws of 1918 authorizes the consolidated company to 
exercise all powers theretofore or thereafter conferred upon either or all of 
the constituent corporations, provided (1) that nothing in the statute con- 
tained shall authorize the consolidated company to divert from the Niagara 
River any water in excess of the amount theretofore authorized by the State 
of New York in respect of the constituent companies, and (2) that if the 
consolidated company shall divert more than 15,100 cubic feet per second 
there shall be reserved to the state the right to charge an equitable rental for 
the excess. 


Part II 


Legislation and Reports 
Regarding the Preservation of 

Niagara Falls 
Permits under the Burton Law 


At the time of the adoption of the Constitution of the United States, and 
for some years thereafter, the State of New York was the sole proprietor of 
all the shore lands and lands under the waters of the Niagara River on the 
United States side of the boundary between it and Canada and of the usufruct 
of the flow of the water on that side of the boundary. 

Subsequently, from time to time, all the shore lands and a considerable part 
of abutting lands under shallow waters were granted by the state by patent 
to individuals or corporations. In 1884 the state re-acquired by purchase or 
expropriation that part thereof now embraced in the New York State Reser- 
vation at Niagara, which includes all the shore lands on the American side of 
the river between the lands where The Niagara Falls Power Company now 
takes water from the river to develop power and the lands from which it re- 
turns such waters again to their natural channel. By acts of its legislature in 
1892 and 1896 respectively, as above mentioned, the state granted to one of 
the constituent corporations of The Niagara Falls Power Company and con- 
firmed in another thereof rights to the use of the waters of the Niagara River 
which are now exercised to the extent permitted by the Federal Government. 

The State of New York has sovereign jurisdiction over the river and the 
flow of its waters for every purpose except those heretofore expressly delegated 
by it to the Congress, namely, purposes pertaining to commerce (which in- 
cludes navigation) and national defense. 

The Federal Government never had and has not now any proprietary in- 
terest in the shores or in the bed of the Niagara River, and has no right of 
usufruct of the flow of its waters under any existing or foreseeable situation. 


Diversion of water from the Niagara River for power purposes by the pred- 
ecessors of the present The Niagara Falls Power Company continued until 
1906 without attempt on the part of the Congress or of any department of the 



Federal Government to limit or control it. Until that time no claim had been 
made that such diversions came within the scope of the limited jurisdiction 
of the Congress. 


On March 27, 1906, President Roosevelt submitted to the Congress a report 
by the American members of the International Waterways Commission re- 
garding "the preservation of Niagara Falls." With that report were in- 
cluded "memoranda showing what has been attempted by the Department of 
State in the effort to secure the preservation of the falls by treaty." 

The report contained the following recommendations : 

(a) The Secretary of War to be authorized to grant permits for the diversion of 28,500 
cubic feet per second, and no more, from the waters naturally tributary to Niagara 

Falls, distributed as follows : 

Cubic feet 

The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company . . . 9,500 

The Niagara Falls Power Company 8,600 

Erie Canal or its tenants (in addition to lock service) 400 

Chicago Drainage Canal 10,000 

(b) All other diversion of water which is naturally tributary to Niagara Falls to be 
prohibited, except such as ma}' be required for domestic use or for the service of 
locks in navigation canals. 

(c) Suitable penalties for violation of the law to be prescribed. 

(d) The foregoing prohibition to remain in force two years, and then to become the 
permanent law of the land, if, in the meantime, the Canadian Government shall have 
enacted legislation prohibiting the diversion of water which is naturally tributary 
to Niagara Falls, in excess of 36,000 cubic feet per second, not including the 
amounts required for domestic use for the service of locks in navigation canals. It 
is assumed, however, that an understanding upon this subject would be reached by 

The object of such legislation would be to put a stop to the further depletion of the 
falls, and at the same time inflict the least possible injury upon the important 
interests now dependent upon this water-power. The amount to be diverted on the 
Canadian side has been fixed with a view to allowing to the companies on that side 
the amounts for which they now have works under construction, which are : 

Cubic feet 

Canadian Niagara Power Company 9,500 

Ontario Power Company 12,000 

Electrical Development Company 11,200 

Niagara Falls Park Railway Company 1,500 

Welland Canal or its tenants (in addition to lock service) 1,800 



In submitting the report President Roosevelt said : 

I earnestly recommend that Congress enact into law the suggestions of the American 
members of the International Waterways Commission for the preservation of Niagara 
Falls, without waiting for the negotiation of a treaty. ... In any event I hope that 
this nation will make it evident that it is doing all in its power to preserve the great 
scenic wonder, the existence of which, unharmed, should be a matter of pride to every 
dweller on this continent. 


Theodore E. Burton, then a member of the House of Representatives and 
chairman of its Committee on Rivers and Harbors, introduced a bill seeking 
to enact into law the recommendations of the commission with certain modi- 
fications. The proceedings and the debate showed the purpose of the bill to be 
solely the preservation of Niagara Falls — a local matter of which the State 
of New York and not the Federal Government would seem to have sole juris- 

Notwithstanding objections of the State of New York and of those whose 
interests were likely to be adversely affected, the Burton Bill became a law 
by the approval of President Roosevelt on June 29, 1906. 

The act authorized the Secretary of War to grant : 

(a) Permits for the diversion of water from the Niagara River or its tributaries for the 
creation of power, but only to companies then actually producing power from the 
waters of that river or its tributaries in the State of New York or from the Erie 
Canal, and only to the amount then actually in use or contracted to be used in 
factories the buildings for which were in process of construction, and not exceeding 
to any one permittee a maximum amount of 8600 cubic feet per second, and not 
exceeding to all an aggregate amount of 15,600 cubic feet per second; 

(b) Permits for the transmission of power from the Dominion of Canada into the United 
States in an amount in the aggregate not in excess of 160,000 horse-power; 

(c) Revocable permits for diversion of additional amounts of water "to such amount, 
if any as, in connection with the amount diverted on the Canadian side, shall not 
injure or interfere with the navigable capacity of said river, or its integrity and 
proper volume as a boundary stream, or the scenic grandeur of Niagara Falls" ; 

(d) Revocable permits for the transmission of additional electrical power from Canada 
"but in no event shall the amount included in such permits, together with the said 
160,000 horse-power and the amount generated and used in Canada, exceed 350,000 

Diversion of water from the Niagara River or its tributaries other than as 
permitted by the Secretary of War pursuant to the act was prohibited, with 
the proviso that such prohibition should not be interpreted as forbidding "the 
diversion of water of the Great Lakes or of Niagara River for sanitary or 



domestic purposes or for navigation ; the amount of which may be fixed from 
time to time by the Congress of the United States or by the Secretary of War 
of the United States under its direction." 

The act also contained the following provisions : 

Sec. 4. That the President of the United States is respectfully requested to open 
negotiations with the government of Great Britain for the purpose of effectually pro- 
viding by suitable treaty with said government, for such regulation and control of the 
waters of Niagara River and its tributaries as will preserve the scenic grandeur of 
Niagara Falls and of the rapids in said river. 

Sec. 5. That the provisions of this act shall remain in force for three years from and 
after date of its passage, at the expiration of which time all permits granted hereunder 
by the Secretary of War shall terminate unless sooner revoked, and the Secretary of 
War is hereby authorized to revoke any or all permits granted by him by authority of 
this act, and nothing herein contained shall be held to confirm, establish, or confer any 
rights heretofore claimed or exercised in the diversion of water or the transmission of 

Substantial penalties were provided for violations of the provisions of the 

From time to time as the respective terms of the act and its extensions drew 
near or passed expiration, the operation of the Burton Law, substantially 
unchanged, was extended until final expiration on March 4, 1913. 

The Niagara Falls Power Company (constituent) filed with the Secretary 
of War July 5, 1906, under protest as hereinafter set forth, its applications 
dated July 3, 1906, for permits under the Burton Law, respectively, (1) to 
divert 8600 cubic feet of water per second from the Niagara River on the 
American side for power production, and ( 2 ) to transmit electricity from the 
plant in Canada of its subsidiary corporation (Canadian Niagara Power 
Company, Limited) into the United States to the amount of 121,000 horse- 
power, the Canadian Niagara Power Company, Limited, joining in the latter 

An application was filed at the same time by The Niagara Falls Hydraulic 
Power and Manufacturing Company (predecessor of another of the constit- 
uent corporations of the present The Niagara Falls Power Company) for a 
permit to divert 9500 cubic feet per second on the American side for power 
production in its plant. 

Applications were also filed by others ( 1 ) for permits to transmit into the 
United States electric power generated by companies on the Canadian side 
of the river, and (2) for diversion within the State of New York by companies 
claiming rights therefor, but without constructed facilities for utilizing the 



The application of The Niagara Falls Power Company (constituent) for 
a diversion permit included the following statements : 

The Niagara Falls Power Company . . . recognizing that under the menace of 
the stringent provisions of and the severe penalties imposed by the act of the first session 
of the Fifty-ninth Congress entitled "An Act for the Control and Regulation of the 
Waters of Niagara River, for the Preservation of Niagara Falls, and for other Pur- 
poses," it will be impossible for the applicant to conduct its business except under the 
authority of the permit of the Secretary of War referred to and provided for in Section 
2 of the said act, in its own behalf and in behalf of its power tenants hereinafter de- 
scribed, and under the provisions of the said act hereby respectfully applies to the 
Secretary of War for 

A permit for the diversion of water in the United States from the Niagara River, for 
the creation of power to the amount of eight thousand six hundred (8600) cubic feet 
per second. 

This is the amount of water of said Niagara River now actually in use by the appli- 
cant, as reported by the International Waterways Commission, Senate Document 242 
(Sixty-second Congress, Second Session), Art. 9, p. 5 ; Art. 30, p. 11. 

The applicant, however, respectfully protests against the provisions of the said act 
in so far as the same prohibit or are inconsistent with the present and continued exercise 
by the applicant of its just and lawful right, during the continuance of its works, to 
divert the waters of the said Niagara River and to use the same for the creation of 
power, to an extent sufficient to produce 200,000 effective horse-power; and without 
waiving, respectfully reserves the applicant's said right, and all right now vested in it, 
or to which it is now entitled (1) under the Common Law, or (2) under the Statutes of 
the State of New York. 


Hearings on the applications for water diversion on the New York side of 
the river were conducted by Secretary of War William H. Taft, in person, 
at his office in Washington, on July 5th, and at Niagara Falls, New York, on 
July 12, 1906. On July 14, 1906, Secretary Taft issued an interlocutory 
order granting certain temporary permits governing diversion on the New 
York State side of the river and transmission into the United States from 
Canada, until final determination of the matter by him, and referring all ap- 
plications for permits to Captain (later Colonel) Charles W. Kutz, then of 
the Corps of Engineers, United States Army, and the American members of 
the International Waterways Commission to report on the facts. 

Captain Kutz, who made extensive investigations on the ground, filed with 
the Secretary of War his report on the "Existing Water-power Situation at 
Niagara Falls, so far as Concerns the Canadian Power Companies and Their 
Associated Transmission Companies," dated August 15, 1906, and also a 
report on "Existing Water-power Situation at Niagara Falls, so far as Con- 
cerns the Diversion of Water on the American Side," dated October 5, 1906. 



In the report on transmission from Canada into the United States the 
recommendations were : 

That permits for the transmission of power to the United States be issued as follows : 


Niagara, Lockport & Ontario Power Company, from the Ontario 

Power Company 60,000 

Electrical Transmission Company, from the Electrical Development 

Company 37,500 

The Niagara Falls Power Company, from the Canadian Niagara 

Power Company 60,000 

The American members of the International Waterways Commission filed 
a report on the same subject dated September 29, 1906, in which they con- 
curred in the recommendations made by Captain Kutz. 

In his report on water diversion on the New York side of the river, Captain 
Kutz stated: 

If it be determined that the amount of water occasionally used for sluicing debris and 
ice must be included in any permits that are granted, the interested parties are, in my 
opinion, entitled under the law to permits for diversion as follows: 

Cubic feet 
per second 

The Niagara Falls Power Company 8,600 
The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power & Manufacturing Company 6,403 
State of New York (at Lockport, New York, through the Erie Canal) 358 

The American members of the International Waterways Commission re- 
ported on water diversion under date of November 15, 1906. Their report 
contained the following recommendation : 

We accordingly recommend that permits for the diversion of water from the Niagara 
River be granted to The Niagara Falls Power Company for 8600 cubic feet per second 
and The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company for 5850 cubic 
feet per second, it being understood that these are average amounts, and that the larger 
amounts occasionally required for sluicing may be accumulated by using generally 
smaller amounts. 

A further hearing on the several applications for permits to transmit elec- 
tricity from Canada into the United States was held by Secretary of War 
Taft at his office in Washington lasting two days, November 26 and 27, 1906. 
At that hearing Francis Lynde Stetson appeared for The Niagara Falls 
Power Company; John L. Romer for The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power 
and Manufacturing Company; Paul D. Cravath for Niagara, Lockport & 



Ontario Power Company; Morris Cohn, Jr., for International Railway Com- 
pany; John G. Johnson (of Philadelphia) for Electrical Development 
Company; A. K. Potter for the commissioners of the state reservation at 
Niagara; Frank W. Stevens for the New York Chamber of Commerce; 
J. Horace McFarland of the American Civic Association, Dr. John M. 
Clarke, New York State Geologist and several others appeared as stated in 
the public interest. 


On August 16, 1907, the Secretary of War issued to The Niagara Falls 
Power Company (1886) (1) a permit to divert 8600 cubic feet of water per 
second from the Niagara River above the falls for use for power purposes, 
(2) a permit to receive from Canadian Niagara Power Company, Limited, at 
the international boundary line and to transmit from the Dominion of Canada 
into the United States 52,500 electrical horse-power. 

At the same time a permit for diversion of 6500 cubic feet of water per 
second from above the falls was issued to The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power 
and Manufacturing Company. The amount of water so permitted to that 
company anticipated provision for certain plant enlargements in process 
when the Burton Law was enacted. 

A diversion permit for 500 cubic feet per second was issued also to the Lock- 
port Hydraulic Company, the diversion to be made through the Erie Canal 
to Lockport. 

Further permits for transmission of electricity into the United States from 
Canada also were issued ( 1 ) to the Niagara, Lockport and Ontario Power 
Company in the amount of 60,000 horse-power, (2) to The Electrical Devel- 
opment Company of Ontario, Limited, and its distributing agents in the 
United States in the amount of 46,000 horse-power, and (3) to the Inter- 
national Railway Company in the amount of 1500 horse-power. 


For the guidance of the Congress and the treaty commissioners who were 
meantime appointed and were engaged with commissioners on behalf of Great 
Britain in formulating a treaty for the control of the waters of boundary 
streams between Canada and the United States, at the instance of the Secre- 
tary of War exhaustive investigations were undertaken of the effect on the 
falls, as well as on the river and the levels of Lake Erie, of the diversion of 
water for power purposes both in Canada and in the United States. Surveys, 
measurements, and careful studies were made by the United States Lake 
Survey whose findings and conclusions were embodied in reports to the Chief 
of Engineers, United States Army, by Major (afterwards General) Keller, 



Corps of Engineers, United States Army, then in charge of the survey of the 
northern and northwestern lakes, dated November 30, 1908, and September 
21, 1909, respectively, and transmitted by President Taft to the Congress on 
August 21, 1911. They were printed in Senate Document No. 105, Sixty- 
second Congress, First Session, under title "Preservation of Niagara Falls." 
A further report was made by Colonel Riche, then the successor to Major 
Keller in charge of the United States Lake Survey, dated September 11, 1911, 
which was transmitted by the President to the Congress on December 7, 
1911, and printed under the same title in House Document No. 246, Sixty- 
second Congress, Second Session. 

The effect on Lake Erie and Niagara River levels of all diversions for 
power purposes then being made on the Canadian as well as the American 
side, was stated by Major Keller as follows (the amounts being in fractions 

of one foot ) : 

Lake Erie (Buffalo L. H. gauge) .... .07 of a foot 

Niagara River at — 

Austin Street 10 " 

Tonawanda .16 " 

Schlosser's Dock .23 " 

Chippawa .48 " 

Grass Island .77 " 

The change at Grass Island exceeds that at Chippawa because of localized effect due 
to the close proximity of the intakes of the two American power companies. With diver- 
sions at points in the pool remote from both gauges, the latter should change by an equal 
amount. The shut-down of July-August, 1908, also shows that a change of diversion in 
the Chippawa-Grass Island pool is accompanied by a corresponding change in outflow 
of Lake Erie, amounting to 10 per cent of the change in diversion. 

Although the traffic below Tonawanda is insignificant in draft and in amount, the 
upper Niagara River is navigable from its head practically to Chippawa and Schlosser's 
Dock. ... In inches, the diversion of 19,350 cubic feet per second in the Chippawa- 
Grass Island pool reduces the depth at the head of the river % inch, at Austin Street 
11/4 inches, at Tonawanda 1% inches, at Schlosser's Dock 2% inches, and at Chippawa 
5% inches. The change to and including Tonawanda is insignificant. Below that point 
the reduction in depth is greater, but there is still much more than enough depth for 
the commerce involved. 

In reply to the inquiry of the Chief of Engineers, I would, therefore, state categori- 
cally that the diversion of the maximum amount at present authorized on the American 
side, a total of 15,100 cubic feet per second, and the additional diversion on the Canadian 
side of all the water needed to generate the 60,000 horse-power, at present permitted to 
be imported into the United States by the Ontario Power Company, will not injure nor 
interfere with the navigable capacity of the Niagara River. ... It is therefore plain 
that present authorized diversions in the United States and those now made in Canada, 



have had no effect upon the Niagara River, so far as concerns "its integrity or proper 
volume as a boundary stream." 

Senate Document 105 (Sixty-second Congress, First Session) , pages 12-13 


The investigations of the United States Lake Survey engineers were assis- 
ted by shut-downs of the American power-plants for several hours at a time 
in June and July, 1908. The shut-downs of The Niagara Falls Power Com- 
pany (constituent) plant were made primarily for the purpose of repairs 
in Power-house Number Two extension of its tail-race tunnel. The plant of 
The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing Company was shut 
down simultaneously for the express purpose of assisting the United States 
War Department engineers in their measurements of water levels in the river. 

The results of such measurements were reported by Major Keller as 
follows : 

Accordingly, the positive evidence of the shut-down of July-August, 1908, shows 
very slight change in the height, and therefore in the volume of the American Falls, due 
to the restoration to the upper rapids of some 5600 cubic feet per second. The actual 
change, ascertained from the comparison of the means of two 10-day periods, was a rise 
of 0.012 foot at the Prospect Point gauge, situated at the American or northeast end 
of the American Fall. At gauge, wing dam, nearly opposite the head of Goat Island, the 
rise was 0.037 foot. The law of gauge relations, on the other hand, would have made the 
rise at Prospect Point 126/560 of the rise at Chippawa, or about 0.026 foot, and at 
wing dam 41/56 of the rise at Chippawa, or about 0.068 foot. The effect actually 
observed is therefore less than half that which is derived from a consideration of the 
law of gauge relations. A diversion of 15,100 cubic feet per second on the American 
side would therefore actually lower the American Fall at Prospect Point 0.032 foot, or 
about 2 per cent of its average depth. While the change at the middle point of the crest 
might perhaps not be the same as that at Prospect Point, it is doubtful whether the dif- 
ference would be appreciable. The present authorized diversions of the two American 
companies and that at present possible for the Ontario Power Company together will 
lower the depth of water on the American Fall 0.052 foot, equivalent to about % inch, 
and on the American rapids the lowering will be about 0.30 foot, or 3% inches, and these 
changes can not be considered as important. 

The effect of a diversion of 15,100 cubic feet at Terrapin Point, at the east end of the 
Horseshoe, is shown by the established law of gauge relations to be a lowering of 0.16 
foot, and for a diversion of 19,350 cubic feet, which covers all present and immediately 
prospective diversions in the Chippawa-Grass Island pool, the reduction in depth will be 
0.21 foot, or 2.5 inches. As the depths at Terrapin Point are slight, such a lowering is 
of considerable importance. It is, however, at the west end of the Horseshoe Fall that 
the most serious effects have been produced. The law of gauge relations shows that a 
diversion of 19,350 cubic feet in the Chippawa-Grass Island pool will lower the water 
surface at the Canadian end of the great cataract by 0.52 foot. The present diversions of 



the Electrical Development Company, the Canadian Niagara Company, and the Inter- 
national Railway Company, perhaps aggregating 6700 cubic feet, add at least 0.19 
foot to this, so that the total lowering at the Canadian end of the Horseshoe Fall, 
due to diversions authorized on the American side and those existing on the Canadian 
side, is 0.72 foot or more, a serious change at a locality known to be deficient in depth. 
These figures are for an elevation of Lake Erie such as obtained during the summers of 
1907 and 1908, when lake stages were relatively high. 

Senate Document 105 (Supra), pages 13-14 

The report adds : 

It is understood that the intention of Congress, as expressed in the act of June 29, 
1906, was to preserve to the various power companies rights which had already accrued 
through the investment of capital and the construction of fixed plant. At that time, 
upon information supposed to be derived from the company itself, the permit for diver- 
sion issued to The Niagara Falls Power Company was for a maximum of 8600 cubic 
feet per second. The discharge measurements in the company's canal have proved that 
at times its diversion exceeds 9350 cubic feet per second. This represents the maximum 
measured flow, and corresponds to a bus-bar output of about 72,000 horse-power. With 
a safe reserve in each power-house, the switchboard capacity of the existing generators 
is about 95,000 horse-power. It is possible then that the diversions needed for a maxi- 
mum profitable use of the existing plant of The Niagara Falls Power Company may 
reach a total of over 12,000 cubic feet per second. To fix the exact amount would require 
further measurement. An increase to the limit of the capacity of the existing tail-race 
tunnel may be regarded as a simple act of justice, but it should be conditioned upon a 
radical reconstruction of the company's tail-race tunnel and penstocks, so as to insure 
the utmost economy in the use of water. At present, this company realizes only about 
two-thirds of its available head. In fact, even though no additional diversion were 
authorized, since the only rational ground for permitting diversions of any amount 
whatever is the resulting economy in the use of coal and other fuel — natural resources 
which are by no means inexhaustible — a requirement of the utmost possible economy in 
the use of water would not be unfair. The changes in tail-races, penstocks, and in fact 
in the entire plant, should be made a subject of close inquiry and regulation. All this 
is not intended as a criticism of this company, which was a pioneer in the field, and at a 
time when limitation of water consumption was unthought of and seemed unnecessary. 

Id., page 16 


The American members of the International Waterways Commission, on 
whose report to the Secretary of War, dated March 19, 1906, the provisions 
of the Burton Law were mainly based, had computed the then existing amount 
of water diversion by The Niagara Falls Power Company (constituent) to 
be 8600 cubic feet per second, of which about 8000 cubic feet per second was in 
use in its 100,000 horse-power electric generating station, Power-houses 
Numbers One and Two, and about 600 cubic feet per second in the production 



of hydraulic power by one of its tenant companies (International Paper 
Company). The computation was accepted by the Congress in providing in 
the Burton Law that no permit should be issued to any one company in excess 
of 8600 cubic feet per second. 

Soon after the enactment of the law actual operation demonstrated that the 
amount of water required to operate those plants fully was approximately 
10,500 cubic feet per second. Serious and unintended injustice resulted to 
The Niagara Falls Power Company by such limitation to 8600 cubic feet per 
second. Its output was thereby reduced some 20,000 horse-power below 
former production. 

The matter was brought to the attention of the treaty commissioners, who 
recognizing also the necessities of the other American power generating com- 
pany in framing a treaty proposed that the limit of aggregate diversion on the 
American side of the river be raised from 15,600 cubic feet per second, as 
limited by the Burton Law, to "a daily diversion at the rate of 20,000 cubic 
feet per second." 

The results to be expected on the levels of the river and Lake Erie of a 
diversion of such an additional 4400 cubic feet per second were shown by 
careful computations from Major Keller's report to be approximately as 
follows: j , 


At the crest of the American Falls, less than % 

At the Canadian end of the Horseshoe Falls, less than iVia 

At Lake Erie, approximately % 

(See Hearings before Committee on Foreign Affairs, 
January 18, 1912, page 68) 


A treaty based upon the views of the commissioners was signed at Washing- 
ton, D. C, January 11, 1909, and was proclaimed May 13, 1910. Article V 
provides as follows : 

The high contracting parties agree that it is expedient to limit the diversion of waters 
from the Niagara River so that the level of Lake Erie and the flow of the stream shall 
not be appreciably affected. It is the desire of both parties to accomplish this object 
with the least possible injury to investments which have already been made in the con- 
struction of power-plants on the United States side of the river under grants of authority 
from the State of New York, and on the Canadian side of the river under licenses author- 
ized by the Dominion of Canada and the Province of Ontario. 

So long as this treaty shall remain in force no diversion of the waters of the Niagara 
River above the falls from the natural course and stream thereof shall be permitted 
except for the purposes and to the extent hereinafter provided. 



The United States may authorize and permit the diversion within the State of New 
York of the waters of said river above the falls of Niagara, for power purposes, not 
exceeding in the aggregate a daily diversion at the rate of 20,000 cubic feet of water 
per second. 

The United Kingdom, by the Dominion of Canada, or the Province of Ontario, may 
authorize and permit the diversion within the Province of Ontario of the waters of said 
river above the falls of Niagara for power purposes, not exceeding in the aggregate a 
daily diversion at the rate of 36,000 cubic feet of water per second. 

The prohibitions of this article shall not apply to the diversion of water for sanitary 
or domestic purposes, or for the service of canals for the purposes of navigation. 

Notwithstanding enlargement by the terms of the treaty of the limits of 
water diversion above the falls for power purposes permissible on the New 
York side of the river, the Congress by the successive joint resolutions ex- 
tending the operation of the Burton Law until March 4, 1913, made no change 
in its limitation of the maximum rates of such diversion as originally fixed by 
the Burton Law. 


Part III 




The stress of the requirements of the World War and the important part 
which Niagara power was to take in assisting its prosecution and winning, 
resulted in recommendations by the War Department (1) for immediate 
adoption by the Congress of a joint resolution giving the Secretary of War 
power to grant permits for additional Niagara diversion within treaty limits, 
in amounts required to operate the existing installations, and (2) for the en- 
actment of a law permanently regulating Niagara diversion so that the com- 
panies there would be justified in making the required large investments in 
installing additional generating machinery and reconstructing their plants 
to the extent required to utilize the entire head available between the Grass 
Island pool and that immediately below the falls. 


Under date of July 19, 1913, General Bixby, then Chief of Engineers, 
United States Army, on behalf of the War Department, addressed identical 
letters to each of the New York generating companies, which contained the 
following notice and statements : 

1. The attention of all persons diverting water or contemplating the diversion of 
water from Niagara River for power purposes is invited to the provisions of Sections 
10 and 13 of the River and Harbor Act, approved March 3, 1899. Notice is hereby 
given that all diversions of water from Niagara River above and below the falls are 
considered by this Department as subject to the provisions of those sections, and con- 
sequently as unlawful, except so far as recommended by the Chief of Engineers and ap- 
proved by the Secretary of War. 

2. For the present, no objection is being made by the War Department to existing 
diversions so long as the daily average does not exceed that of the permits and diversion 
limits which existed last year under the Burton Act ; but any new diversions will re- 
quire the specific authority of the Secretary of War. Applications for the necessary 
authority to change the former diversions or to make new ones, should be addressed to 
the Secretary of War. 

No part of the act referred to by General Bixby, however, seemed appli- 
cable to the situation at Niagara Falls. The following provision found in 



Section 10 referred to apparently had been construed by the War Depart- 
ment to be applicable : 

And it shall not be lawful to excavate or fill, or in any manner to alter or modify the 
course, location, condition, or capacity of, any port, roadstead, haven, harbor, canal, 
lake, harbor of refuge, or inclosure within the limits of any breakwater, or of the channel 
of any navigable water of the United States, unless the work has been recommended by 
the Chief of Engineers and authorized by the Secretary of War prior to beginning the 


It is impracticable to operate central generating stations at a 100 per cent 
load factor. The effect of the provision of the treaty with Great Britain for 
a "daily diversion" at a given rate, i.e., averaging the amounts of water used 
at different times during the day, would have afforded considerable relief from 
the rigid Burton Law rule, which restricted the use of water to a definite 
maximum limitation for every moment. 

Under date of May 28, 1914, Secretary of War Lindley M. Garrison ad- 
dressed a letter to The Niagara Falls Power Company containing the follow- 
ing statement and notice : 

The maximum relates not to the daily average quantity diverted, but to the quantity 
diverted at any moment. At no time can that amount be exceeded without destroying 
the status quo that it is my policy and intention to maintain. You are hereby notified 
that excess diversions must cease immediately and that your operations must be so con- 
ducted as to keep at all times within the maximum limit, namely, 8600 cubic feet per 
second as prescribed by the permit referred to above, issued to you under the provisions 
of the Burton Act. 

A similar letter was sent to Hydraulic Power Company of Niagara Falls. 
Both companies forthwith complied with the terms of the notice, The Ni- 
agara Falls Power Company making the following reply to the letter: 

The Niagara Falls Power Company 

Niagara Falls, N. Y., June 5, 1914. 

Honorable Lindley M. Garrison, 
Secretary of War, 
War Department, 
Washington, D. C. 

Dear Sir: 

We acknowledge receipt at about noon of the 2nd instant of your letter under date of 
May 28, 1914 (30089/4 W. D. 57243/2555 Engrs.). 

At the earliest practicable moment thereafter steps were taken to regulate diversion 
of water by this company within the limits of the permit heretofore issued to it under 
the Burton Law, and in accordance with the rules and regulations of your department 
in force immediately prior to the expiration of that law on March 4, 1913. 



Upon the expiration of the Burton Law we believed the only rule then restricting such 
diversion was that of the International Waterways Treaty, limiting the same to "not 
exceeding in the aggregate a daily diversion at the rate of 20,000 cubic feet of water 
per second." 

Upon March 1913, the then Chief of Engineers orally advised the writer that the 
diversion then being made by us was not satisfactory and would not be permitted by 
your department, which he claimed had jurisdiction to restrict such diversion under the 
provisions of the River and Harbor Act of March 3, 1899, and that until further per- 
mits should issue, this company should not exceed a daily diversion at the rate of 8600 
cubic feet per second, and all companies must not exceed an aggregate daily diversion 
at the rate of 15,600 cubic feet per second. Until the receipt of your said letter we 
received no instructions which we understood to be in revocation of the rule then laid 
down so clearly. 

At all times it has been, and will continue to be, our desire, without waiving our pro- 
prietary rights, fully to comply with all provisions of law and with the rules and regu- 
lations of your department. 

In view of your statement that it is your policy and intention to maintain the status 
quo of the Burton Act, we appreciate that discussion is useless ; nevertheless, for your 
information and as a matter of record, we desire to bring to your attention at this time 
briefly two or three pertinent facts : 

(1) The limit of diversion imposed upon this company by the Burton Act, namely, 
8600 cubic feet per second, was due to an inadvertent error ; the intention having 
been to allow this company to divert the amount of water required for its then ex- 
isting plant ; such amount having already been diverted by it prior to the enact- 
ment of that law ; 

(2) Correction of such unintentional injustice to this company has been recommended 
repeatedly by engineer officers of the War Department who have been detailed to 
investigate the subject. In the United States Lake Survey Report on this subject 
(Senate Document No. 105, Sixty-second Congress, First Session, page 16) in 
reference to this company, the statement is made: "An increase to the limit of the 
capacity of the existing tail-race tunnel may be regarded as a simple act of justice," 
and on page 139 of the same document: "The desirability as well as the justice of 
amending the Burton Act so as to permit The Niagara Falls Power Company to 
divert water to the full capacity of its tail-race tunnel are plain" ; 

(3) The direction now given by you as to our diversion will have a substantial effect 
in hampering the industrial operations of our customers who are citizens of the 
United States. Its effect on scenic conditions, of course, is absolutely nil and its 
effect upon the navigability and integrity of the Niagara River is infinitesimal. 

I have the honor, Sir, to be Yours yery respectfully? 



When, because of increases of power use on the Niagara frontier and delays 
in the installation of a steam-power generating plant in Buffalo, the power 



situation became still more critical, the Secretary of War, upon urgent 
requests from Buffalo, issued special permits, effective during parts of the 
year 1916 and terminating finally January 1, 1917, to operate the plant of The 
Niagara Falls Power Company at nearly its full capacity during certain peak- 
load hours of the day, limiting the use of the additional power thereby gen- 
erated to Buffalo only, and restricting the production of the plant as before 
(continued Burton Law restriction) at all other hours of the day. 

Upon requests made in the latter part of 1916, for an extension of such 
special permits, the Secretary of War stated, in substance, that after further 
consideration he had concluded that he had no authority to extend or to revive 
the special permits, although he recognized the critical situation of industries 
at Niagara and in the much wider circle of industries throughout the United 
States dependent on Niagara power output. 


With the approval of the President on January 19, 1917, Public (Joint) 
Resolution No. 45, Sixty-fourth Congress, became a law. In addition to cer- 
tain penalty provisions, it provided as follows: 

That the Secretary of War be, and he is hereby, authorized to issue permits, re- 
vocable at will, for the diversion of water in the United States from the Niagara River 
above the falls for the creation of power to individuals, companies, or corporations 
which are now actually producing power from the waters of said river, in additional 
quantities which, with present diversions, shall in no case exceed the capacity of the 
generating machinery of the permittee and tenant companies now installed and ready 
for operation, nor an amount sufficient to enable the permittee to supply the now existing 
hydro-electric demands of the individuals, companies, or corporations which said per- 
mittee and tenant companies are now supplying, but not in excess of the capacity of 
power-using appliances of said consumers now installed and ready for operation : 
Provided, that in no event shall the total quantity of water diverted in the United States 
from said river above the falls for power purposes exceed in the aggregate a daily diver- 
sion at the rate of twenty thousand cubic feet per second ; And provided further, that 
this resolution shall remain in force until the first day of July, nineteen hundred and 
seventeen, and no longer, at the expiration of which time all permits granted hereunder 
shall terminate, unless sooner revoked ; and nothing herein contained shall be held to con- 
firm, establish, or confer in or upon any such permittee any right in or to the water which 
he is now diverting or which he may be authorized to divert hereunder. 

Immediately upon approval of the resolution (January 19, 1917) the Sec- 
retary of War issued "additional" permits to each of the two generating com- 
panies on the New York side of the river; the additional permit to The Ni- 
agara Falls Power Company (1886) was for a "daily diversion at the rate of 
1400 cubic feet per second," to be used with, and in addition to, its diversion at 



the momentary maximum rate of 8600 cubic feet per second as formerly fixed 
by the Burton Law; and to Hydraulic Power Company of Niagara Falls for 
an additional 3000 cubic feet per second. 

Public Resolution No. 8, Sixty-fifth Congress, approved June 30, 1917, ex- 
tended the term of the preceding resolution (No. 45 of Sixty-fourth Congress) 
until July 1, 1918. 

Under authority of a further joint resolution, approved June 29, 1918, the 
Secretary of War on July 1, 1918, issued permits to the companies for daily 
diversions at the rate of 10,000 cubic feet per second by The Niagara Falls 
Power Company (1886) and 9500 cubic feet per second by Hydraulic Power 
Company of Niagara Falls. The consolidation of the two companies in 
October, 1918, into the present The Niagara Falls Power Company 
(mcmxviii) merged these permits, which pursuant to a further joint resolu- 
tion, approved in July, 1919, were extended by the Secretary of War to 
July 1, 1920. 

Both the latter two joint resolutions provided that permits to be issued 
thereunder should exceed in no event "in the aggregate a daily diversion at the 
rate of 20,000 cubic feet per second," which limitation, it will be observed, 
agrees, both in the amount and in the phraseology used, with the provision of 
the treaty with Great Britain controlling the limits of diversion above the 
falls for power purposes on the New York side of the Niagara River. The 
treaty commissioners had recognized the fairness of equalizing through the 
hours of the day the necessary momentary inequalities of the load of a genera- 
ting plant in practical operation. 

Bills dealing specifically with, or intended permanently to regulate, the 
diversion of water from the Niagara River for power purposes, were intro- 
duced and considered in committee in the sessions of the Sixty-first Congress 
(1909-1911) and of each succeeding Congress to and including the Sixty- 
sixth (1919-1921 ) . None of the measures became law until the enactment of 
the Federal Water Power Act, approved June 10, 1920. That law is general 
in scope and applies to the situation at Niagara. 


The use of Niagara power in useful productions was in the course of rapid 
growth in 1906 when the Burton Law was first enacted. The demand for 
such use very soon outstripped the capacity of the generating plants as restric- 
ted by that law. The demand still was increasing rapidly when the entry of 
the United States into the World War brought it overwhelmingly beyond the 
capacity of the plants even when operated without harmful restrictions in 



water use. Many materials were being produced at Niagara which were in- 
dispensable for the winning of the war, and there was no limit, practically, to 
the demand for power for use in their production. 

The responsibility for so critical a power famine may be assigned to the 
failure of the Congress in enacting timely and adequate legislation perma- 
nently regulating the use of water of the river for power production and fixing 
the status of the generating companies in respect of federal jurisdiction and 

Subject to assurance of reasonable protection in the additional investment 
required, both the generating companies then operating at Niagara at all 
times had been prepared to proceed with the construction of additional plants 
or to reconstruct existing plants so as to obtain the greatest efficiency in the 
use of the water diverted. 

In response to inquiries of the War Department made in 1913, The Niagara 
Falls Power Company had stated in a letter to the Chief of Engineers, United 
States Army, that 

No one can be more desirous of meeting any increased demand for power than will 
be The Niagara Falls Power Company, the pioneer in the production of hydro-electric 
energy for industrial use and long-distance transmission whose enterprise preceded any 
demand for electrical power and antedated any and all legal complications. . . . 

Preliminary estimates indicate the possibility of supplementing the present works of 
The Niagara Falls Power Company so as to utilize to the utmost practicable extent, 
between its intake and outlet, the potentiality of the waters by it diverted from the river. 
.... To this end, however, an absolutely essential prerequisite would be the approval 
of the Federal Government of the right to use the water permanently, or for an adequate 
period, and under conditions promising a fair return on such investments. 

Later in replying to further inquiries of the War Department, in 1916, 
when the prices of the required material and labor had advanced approxi- 
mately 50 per cent, that company had further stated in a letter to Major H. 
Burgess of the United States Lake Survey, dated September 30, 1916, 

Subject to confirmation by the Federal Government of our rights for the necessary 
water diversion for such a term and upon such conditions as will render it practicable 
to raise the required money, we shall be ready and would like to undertake the work as 
soon as the present abnormal conditions of the labor and material markets are adjusted 
to a basis that will permit the project to be carried out with due regard to economic 


It soon became necessary to use all the available power for industries most 
essential in the conduct of the war. 



The President of the United States, by orders signed by the Secretary of 
War under date of December 28, 1917, requisitioned the total quantity and 
output of electrical power produced or capable of being produced by the two 
generating companies at Niagara Falls, New York, as well as the power 
transmitted into the United States from Canada. 

Thereafter until the release of the requisition at midnight of November 30, 
1918, all electricity generated in the plants of the two companies and all trans- 
mitted into the United States from Canada was controlled and distributed 
under the direction of General Keller and Mr. Robert J. Bulkley, acting, 
through the War Department, for the President of the United States. 



Disregarding the neglect of the Congress up to the time to provide for per- 
manent permits and trusting to final recognition of the equities in the case, the 
New York generating companies early in the spring of 1918, undertook at 
the solicitation of the War Department and the President's power administra- 
tors, to agree upon terms of consolidation and with their united resources 
rapidly to install an additional 100,000 horse-power generating plant for 
expected use in helping in the conduct of the war. General Benedict Crowell, 
then Acting Secretary of War, approved the plans, his letter of April 5, 1918, 
addressed to Hydraulic Power Company of Niagara Falls stating: 

It is my understanding that you will immediately proceed to combine your interests 
with those of The Niagara Falls Power Company and the Cliff Electrical Distributing 
Company, and that the reorganized corporation will commence the work immediately 
and prosecute it diligently. 

The importance to the Government of having additional power available for delivery 
as soon as may be is well known to you, and I hope and believe that you will leave nothing 
undone to complete this development at the earliest possible time. 

The new installation was begun forthwith and negotiations between the 
officers of the companies involved resulted in consolidation (under agreement 
dated September 20, 1918) into The Niagara Falls Power Company 
(mcmxviii) / 

the federal water power act 

On June 10, 1920, the President approved of the act of Congress known 
as the Federal Water Power Act, substantially in the form prepared under 
direction of members of the Cabinet of President Wilson and submitted in 

1 The Roman numerals (mcmxviii) while not part of the legal title serve to distinguish the company 
from its constituent corporation of the same name of 1886 and have been incorporated in the corporate 
seal of the consolidated company. 



1919 to the Sixty-fifth Congress by the President with a recommendation for 
its enactment. 

During debates on the floor of the House, both in the last session of the 
Sixty-fifth and in the first session of the Sixty-sixth Congress, motions had 
been made to amend the measure by excluding from its provisions boundary 
streams. The debate indicated that the amendments were particularly in- 
tended to make the bill inapplicable to the use of the water of the Niagara 
River by the generating companies on the New York side of that stream. 
Both motions were defeated and the bill as it passed the House applies to the 
New York side of the Niagara equally with other navigable rivers in the 
United States. 

The measure as passed and approved by the President, among other things, 
most of which are not particularly applicable to the Niagara situation, pro- 
vides in substance : 

(1) For a Federal Water Power Commission, composed of the Secretaries of War, the 
Interior, and Agriculture. 

(2) For licenses to be issued by the commission for periods not exceeding fifty years to 
develop and utilize power in or from navigable waters of the United States. 

(3) For a reasonable annual charge to be fixed by the commission and paid by the 

(4) For comprehensive regulatory powers to be exercised by the commission. 

(5) For preferential consideration, in the granting of permits, of applications by states 
and municipalities provided their plans are equally adapted to conserve and utilize, 
in the public interest, the navigation and water resources of the region. 

(6) For the establishment of amortization reserves to be applied to the reduction of the 
amount of the licensees' net investments. 

(7) For "recapture" by the United States at the end of the term of the permit, but on 
not less than two years' prior notice to the licensee, and on payment of the fair value 
of the property taken and reasonable damages caused by the severance therefrom 
of property dependent thereon and not taken ; such values and damages not to in- 
clude or to be affected by the value of any lands or property of the United States 
licensed under the provisions of the act, or by good will, going value or prospective 
revenues, nor are the values allowed to be in excess of the actual reasonable cost. 

(8) For the optional issue by the commission at the end of the term, in cases where the 
United States does not take over the project, of a new license to the original licensee 
upon such terms as may then be authorized by law, or the issue of such new license 
to a new licensee, who shall make the same payments to the original licensee and 
assume the same obligations as the United States would have been required to make 
and assume, if it had taken over the project. 



(9) In cases where the United States does not take over the project and a new license 
is not issued, the commission shall issue from year to year to the licensee an annual 
license under the terms and conditions of the original license until such time as the 
property is taken over or such new license issued. 

(10) The Federal Government may at any time when, in the opinion of the President, the 
safety of the United States so demands, take over the project for the purpose of 
manufacturing nitrates, explosives, or munitions of war, or for any other purpose 
involving the safety of the United States ; with provisions for the restoration of the 
property unimpaired at the end of any such period and the payment of just and fair 
compensation for its use. 

The Federal Water Power Act afforded a basis for disposing of the Ni- 
agara power question— a subject of debate on the floor and in committees of 
Congress since the time of President Roosevelt's message on "The Preserva- 
tion of Niagara," of March 27, 1906, failure to settle which had substantially 
hindered the progress of extensive beneficial industries and in a considerable 
degree lessened the preparedness of the nation for the World War. The settle- 
ment thereby effected has contributed largely to the success of the era of 
heightened production so necessary for the welfare of this country and the 
exhausted nations of Europe. 


Upon application by the company, the Federal Water Power Commission 
on March 2, 1921, pursuant to authority vested in it by the Congress in the 
Federal Water Power Act, licensed (its license No. 1) The Niagara Falls 
Power Company (mcmxviii) "to construct, operate and maintain diversion 
structures, water conduits, power-houses, transmission lines, and other project 
works, and to develop, transmit, and utilize power from the waters of the 
Niagara River as described in *** application." 

The license sets forth at considerable length the terms upon which it was 
granted, which include, among others: 

(1) Authority to the company for a term of fifty years "to divert, within the State 
of New York, from the waters of said Niagara River, above the falls of Niagara, 
for power purposes, water not exceeding in the aggregate a daily diversion at the 
rate of 19,500 cubic feet per second, provided that the maximum diversion in any 
calendar day shall not exceed said rate by more than twenty per cent thereof." 

(2) Definite fixed dates for beginning and completing the unconstructed portion of the 
project works. 1 

(3) The water to be diverted by the licensee may be utilized in its power stations hereto- 
fore built in the city of Niagara Falls, New York, until the licensee shall construct 
its "Proposed Addition to Station No. 3 Extension Hydraulic Plant" and as soon as 

1 Specifications of dates for commencement and completion of construction were fully complied with. 



a new unit or units of its said "Proposed Addition to Station No. 3 Extension Hy- 
draulic Plant" shall be installed and ready for operation, the licensee shall utilize 
the water so authorized to be diverted by it, in the operation of its plants in such 
manner as shall produce the best results, it being intended after the completion 
of "Proposed Addition to Station No. 3 Extension Hydraulic Plant" that the ex- 
isting Niagara plant shall be maintained and operated as a reserve, emergency, or 
peak load plant, or be operated with any increased diversion which the licensee may 
hereafter be legally authorized and entitled to divert from the Niagara River for 
power development. 

(4) The licensee to pay to the United States annual charges determined as provided in 
the regulations theretofore adopted by the Federal Power Commission. (These 
charges now (1925) amount to 25 cents per horse-power per year on an output 
computed under a general formula adopted by the commission.) 

(5) Certain provisions for depreciation and amortization of the net investment in the 
project and the establishment and maintenance out of surplus earnings of certain 
amortization reserves. 

(6) Observance of all terms and conditions provided in the Federal Water Power Act in 
respect to licenses issued thereunder, including the provision for recapture of the 
project works. 

The Boundary" Waters Treaty hetween the United States and Great 
Britain, proclaimed May 13, 1910, limits the amount of water that may be 
diverted on the New York side of the Niagara River, above the falls, to 
20,000 cubic feet per second. While the treaty remains in force, unamended, 
its limitations are controlling on the Congress and the latter's empowered 
agent, the Federal Water Power Commission. Of the allowable 20,000 cubic 
feet per second on the New York side, all but 500 cubic feet per second was 
granted to The Niagara Falls Power Company for a term of fifty years from 
March 2, 1921. That amount of water is now fully used at the highest attain- 
able efficiency under the full available hydraulic head between the place of 
diversion and where the water is returned to the river immediately below the 
American Fall. An additional 225 cubic feet per second of the 500 cubic feet 
per second also is in use under terms of a temporary supplemental license, 
which it is expected will be made for the full term of the original license. 

The electric energy generated by use of the granted water is employed in 
useful industries or in public service throughout the considerable part of the 
State of New York served by the company or by service companies supplied 
directly or through transmitting companies. Due to the fact that Niagara 
energy is furnished at prices much lower than the cost of steam power and to 
other distinct advantages in use, there still remains an insistent demand for 
its supply on the Niagara frontier and elsewhere where it can be economically 



In view of the fact that with, or even without, easily installed remedial 
measures, much more water could be diverted around the cataract without 
impairing the scenic features of the river and falls, it is obvious that continu- 
ance of the present limitations of the Boundary Waters Treaty, unamended, 
will result in great economic waste, depriving the industries and communities 
of an important section of the United States of their heritage of power so 
richly bestowed by nature. 


Part IV 


Lease by Commissioners of 
Queen Victoria Niagara Falls Park 



The Canadian Niagara Power Company, Limited, the entire capital stock 
and all funded obligations of which are held by The Niagara Falls Power Com- 
pany, was incorporated by a special act 1 of the Legislative Assembly of the 
Province of Ontario, Canada. 

Its generating station, including water-intake, power-house, and tail-race 
discharge tunnel, is located in Queen Victoria Niagara Falls Park which 
fronts on the Niagara River at Niagara Falls, Ontario. 

The lands occupied and water-rights are leased to the company by the 
Province of Ontario under an agreement dated April 7, 1892, executed by 
and between the commissioners of the Queen Victoria Niagara Falls Park 
and Albert D. Shaw, Francis Lynde Stetson and William B. Rankine. This 
lease with certain amendments was confirmed by a further special act 2 and 
the original lease has been amended by subsequent agreements executed by 
the commissioners of the park and by the company and confirmed by acts of 
the Ontario Legislative Assembly. 

The lease ("agreement") herein referred to, inter alia, provides: 

(1) For the purpose of generating electricity and pneumatic power to be transmitted 
to places beyond the park, the commissioners grant to the company a license 
irrevocable save as therein limited to take water from the Niagara River at certain 
specified places, and lead such water . . .to supply works to be erected and con- 
structed by the company in buildings and power-houses at a specified location on 
the mainland within the park . . . which location shall occupy a tract of land of 
not more than 1200 feet in length by not more than 100 feet in width. 

(2) The company shall have the further right to excavate tunnels to discharge the water 
led from the Niagara River to the said buildings and power-houses so that such 
water by means of such tunnels shall emerge below the Horseshoe Fall at or near 
the water's edge of the Niagara River. 

The original lease provided for a term of twenty years beginning with 
May 1, 1892, and was renewable at the option of the company for four addi- 
tional successive terms of twenty years each. 

1 55 Victoria, Chapter 8, assented to 14th April, 1892. 

2 62 Victoria, Chapter 11, Section 35, assented to 1st April, 1899. 



The amended agreement dated July 15, 1899, provides that the rent to 
be paid by the company from and after May 1, 1899, up to May 1, 1949, shall 
be at the rate of $15,000 per annum, and in addition thereto one dollar per 
annum "for each electrical horse-power generated and used, and sold or 
disposed of" over 10,000 horse-power up to 20,000 horse-power, and seventy- 
five cents for each such horse-power over 20,000 horse-power up to 30,000 
horse-power, and fifty cents for each such horse-power over 30,000 horse- 
power. After May 1, 1949, the same rentals are to continue unless readjusted 
as provided in the agreement. 

The amended agreement provides for three successive twenty-year re- 
newals, beginning with May 1, 1949, and that the Lieutenant-Governor-in- 
Council not less than three years prior to the expiration of the last of such 
renewals, on notice to the company, may require the company to continue its 
operations for a further period of twenty years. 

It will be noted that any limitation on power production of the tenant com- 
pany imposed by provisions of the lease is not in terms of water or power 
produced but is covered by location, size and character of water-intake, dis- 
charge tunnel, turbines, generators, and other essential plant as approved by 
the park commissioners. The works so approved include (1925) ten genera- 
ting units and one spare unit, having an aggregate rated capacity of 121,000 

The rent paid in 1925 to the park commissioners amounted to $67,003.29. 

Operation under the lease is somewhat complicated by the fact that the 
government of the Dominion of Canada has jurisdiction of power exportation 
and some authority under the Boundary Waters Treaty of 1909 which limits 
the aggregate quantity of water that may be diverted for power purposes 
within the Province of Ontario from the Niagara River above the falls. 

Of the total power produced by the Canadian Niagara Power Company, 
Limited (1925), about 50,000 horse-power is ordinarily transmitted to the 
international boundary for exportation into the State of New York; about 
30,000 horse-power is sold and delivered direct to industries in the Province of 
Ontario; and 20,000 horse-power is sold and delivered to the Hydro-Electric 
Power Commission of Ontario (an administrative department of the Pro- 
vincial Government). 

In the year 1907 the Dominion of Canada passed the Electricity and Fluid 
Exportation Act (6-7 Edward VII, Chapter 16), and since that time the 
Department of Trade and Commerce of the Dominion of Canada has con- 
tinued from year to year to issue to the Canadian Niagara Power Company, 
Limited, an annual license to export or sell for export from Canada electrical 



energy at a rate not exceeding during the year the rate specified in the license. 
The company now (1925) has two such export licenses which run concur- 
rently; one for 45,000 kilowatts (60,000 horse-power) and the other for an 
additional 20,000 kilowatts. The additional license provides that all or any 
part of the electrical energy exported thereunder shall be subject to recall on 
demand for delivery in Canada. 

On March 16, 1925, acting under the authorization of Section 10 of the 
Electricity and Fluid Exportation Act already referred to, an Order-in- 
Council was passed by the Dominion Government imposing an export duty 
of three one hundredths of a cent ($0.0003) per kilowatt hour upon power 
exported from Canada; said duty to be in addition to any fee payable for a 
license for the exportation of power and to be payable in respect of power 
exported on and after the first day of April, 1925. The duty paid by the 
Canadian Niagara Power Company, Limited, in 1925 (9 months) amounted 
to $72,005.15. 





Chapter XII 




THE Cataract Construction Company was incorporated June 13, 1889, 
under the general laws of the State of New Jersey, by Francis Lynde 
Stetson and associates, Edward A. Wickes and William B. Rankine, as a 
means for carrying out certain power developments at Niagara Falls which 
they had under consideration. They were then negotiating for the purchase 
of a charter and other rights and property relative to such developments and 
particularly the capital stock of the so-called Gaskill company that controlled 
the project of Thomas Evershed for the development of power at Niagara. 

Among its objects, the company was authorized to carry on the business 
of making and letting of contracts to build works of improvement of any 
kind, whether railroads, viaducts, aqueducts, dams, tunnels, conduits, reser- 
voirs, raceways, mills, manufactories, pipe-lines, cable systems, electric sys- 
tems or hydraulic systems. 

An amendment specified that its principal office outside of the State of 
New Jersey would be situated in the city and county of New York, in 
which place, as well as at Niagara Falls in the county of Niagara, and 
Buffalo in the county of Erie, all in the State of New York, the company 
proposed to carry on operations. 

Although the primary object of the company, as indicated by its name, 
purposes and locations, was to enter into a contract with the Niagara River 
Hydraulic Tunnel, Power and Sewer Company' for the performance of work 
of construction at Niagara Falls, yet it had legal power to engage in other 

This power company 2 was organized particularly to utilize Niagara waters 
for power purposes in conformity with a project, prepared therefor by 
Thomas Evershed, and acquired for this purpose by the company. The negoti- 
ations for the purchase of the shares of this newly organized power company 
were prompted by the fact that their ownership would include the plans and 
estimates prepared by Mr. Evershed, who was then a director in the company 
and its chief engineer. 

x Name changed to The Niagara Falls Power Company in 1889. 

2 See Chapter VII, The Evershed Scheme, Niagara River Hydraulic Tunnel, Power and Sewer 
Company, 1886. 




Over three years had now elapsed since March, 188G, when the Niagara 
River Hydraulic Tunnel, Power and Sewer Company obtained from the 
State of New York its special charter, with authority to take an unlimited 
quantity of water from Niagara River for power and other purposes, and to 
acquire lands and franchises in such developments. Great activity was mani- 
fested by the officers and directors of this power company to secure the 
necessary capital to finance their enterprise, by the sale of stock and later by 
the sale of first mortgage bonds, both of which were offered, unsuccessfully, 
in the leading financial centers of this country and the bonds in London. In 
the course of such negotiations the project had been presented to Francis 
Lynde Stetson, lawyer, of New York City, who manifested some interest in 
the enterprise and pursued, with a few associates, several lines of investiga- 
tion that led to his obtaining an option to purchase the entire capital stock of 
the company. 

This option was not availed of and its term lapsed without action. After 
nearly a year of study of some of the legal, business and engineering questions 
involved in the project, it was decided in 1889 by the Stetson associates in 
the organization, to proceed with the enterprise as a hydraulic power propo- 
sition, differing from those in New England in its magnitude and the methods 
of development necessitated by the location of the falls and the city, at the 
angle of the Niagara River. 1 Negotiations were resumed in the spring of 
1889 and a contract was made by The Cataract Construction Company, 
organized expressly for this purpose, with the stockholders of the Niagara 
company to purchase all their shares. The cataract company entered into 
a preliminary agreement with the Niagara company, under date of July 5, 
1889, for the construction of its hydraulic plant in consideration of its capital 
stock and bonds to be issued in payment therefor. 

Further agreements were executed between the two companies as the 
project developed, under which the cataract company became the repre- 
sentative of the Niagara company, charged with the designing, financing and 
constructing of the plant. 

Pursuant to the definite plans adopted during 1889 and 1890, an im- 
portant area of land was acquired by the cataract company, favorably located 
for the development of the power enterprise. 

On December 31, 1890, The Cataract Construction Company offered to 
sell and transfer to the Niagara company all its lands in the town of 
Niagara, consisting of 1237 acres (1200 upland and 37 under water) at a 

1 See Chapter VIII, The Evershed Tunnel Project, Investigation and Modification, 1889-1890. 



valuation of $2,437,000, payable in $1,996,400 par value of 19,964 shares, 
being the whole capital stock authorized, less the qualifying shares of the 
directors of the Niagara company, together with $440,000 par value of bonds 
of the Niagara company. This proposal was accompanied by numerous 
appraisals of the lands by local and other experts familiar with the property. 
The proposal was accepted by the terms of a fourth Niagara-cataract contract, 
that was then authorized to be executed. 

Further investigations followed an invitation to financial interests to join 
the cataract group and a formal agreement was made in lieu of the pre- 
liminary agreement of July 5, 1889, with the Niagara company. 

By an agreement of January 17, 1890, a "stock subscription" was made 
to an increase of 400 shares of the capital stock of The Cataract Construction 
Company at its par value of $50 per share, and a "money subscription" was 
also made to $2,900,000 of the proposed first mortgage bonds of The Niagara 
Falls Power Company at 90 per cent of their par value, constituting a total 
cash subscription for the purposes of The Cataract Construction Company 
of $2,630,000. 

The agreement provided that any and all profits received or realized by the 
cataract company in the performance of its construction contracts should 
go and belong to that company and all the stockholders thereof would share 
pro rata therein according to the number of shares held by them. 

The bonds as earned and received from the Niagara company were to be 
deposited with a committee of three persons appointed by a majority in 
interest of the money subscribers, said committee being empowered to hold, 
manage and sell the bonds for account of the subscribers. 


Prior to the execution of the agreements and contracts of The Cataract 
Construction Company of July 5, 1889, legal opinions concerning the 
charters of the Niagara River Hydraulic Tunnel, Power and Sewer Com- 
pany and of The Cataract Construction Company, and the contracts be- 
tween the Niagara and cataract companies, and the Niagara stockholders and 
the cataract company, were furnished to persons in interest. 

The opinion of Francis Lynde Stetson of June 13, 1889, concludes as 
follows : 

I am of opinion that the Niagara company and its intending contractors may enter 
into a construction contract, as before indicated, for stock and bonds containing proper 
provisions waiving all individual liability of stockholders and bondholders. 



Victor Morawetz, in his letter of July 1, 1889, referring to the afore- 
described documents, stated: 

I am of opinion that no liability would result from the issue of stock and bonds as 

Charles E. Tracy stated July 3, 1889, that he had "examined the foregoing 
papers and opinions of counsel and concurs in the views expressed by them." 


At the meeting of subscribers, February 6, 1890, for the purpose of com- 
pleting organization, it was recommended that The Cataract Construction 
Company should 

increase to eleven its board of directors, then consisting of: 

Francis Lynde Stetson Edward A. Wickes 

William B. Rankine 

by the election of eight additional directors, viz: 

Edward D. Adams Walter Howe 1 

George S. Bowdoin Charles Lanier 

Charles F. Clark D. O. Mills 

A. J. Forbes-Leith ■ Frederick W. Whitridge 

and an executive committee composed of : 

Walter Howe D. O. Mills 

Charles Lanier Francis L} T nde Stetson 

Frederick W. Whitridge 

It was also recommended to elect the following officers : 

President Edward D. Adams 

( Francis Lynde Stetson 
Vice-presidents } A 

Secretary William B. Rankine 

Treasurer George H. Kent 

It was further recommended to appoint as committee of bankers, 
representing "money subscribers" under Subscription Agreement 
of January 17, 1890 

George S. Bowdoin, of Drexel, Morgan & Company 
John Crosby Brown, of Brown Brothers & Company 
Charles Lanier, of Winslow, Lanier & Company 
1 Died in 1890; succeeded by Joseph H. Larocque. 



and to proceed with the preparation, execution and performance of 
a contract with The Niagara Falls Power Company as contemplated 
in the agreement of January 17, 1890. 

At a meeting of the cataract stockholders, action was taken as requested 
by the "money subscribers." 

The first board of directors, just named, comprised eleven stockholders 
representing nearly all the capital stock of The Cataract Construction Com- 
pany. They were responsible pioneers of the newly formed enterprise, 
closely united in a purpose, and themselves serving as voussoirs of a system, 
as in a true arch 1 that, as they say in India, "never sleeps," where all stones 
are of equal importance, each supporting its burden, interlocking firmly 
although differing in form while similar in substance, and all co-operating as 
a unit. Such were the first directors and their successors, in all twenty-one 
different persons, serving as directors and officers during twenty-nine years 
of the undertaking. 

With the exception caused by the removal of residence permanently to 
England, and several withdrawals on account of ill health, no director resigned 
his office, and otherwise death alone permitted the selection of new associates 
upon the company's board. 

At the annual meeting, June 4, 1901, of the stockholders of The Niagara 
Falls Power Company, the number of directors was increased to thirteen, 
at which number it remained. The board of directors then elected consisted 
of the following stockholders: 

The personnel of the board of directors of The Cataract Construction 
Company and of The Niagara Falls Power Company, into which latter the 
directors of the former were elected upon the completion of their construction 
undertaking, was changed from time to time by elections to fill vacancies, so 
that on September 20, 1918, the date of the joint agreement of consolidation 
with the Hydraulic Power Company of Niagara Falls, the board of directors 

Edward D. Adams 
John Jacob Astor 
George S. Bowdoin 

Daniel O'Day 
William B. Rankine 
Francis Lynde Stetson 
Frederick W. Whit ridge 

Darius O. Mills 
Victor Morawetz 

Charles F. Clark 
Charles Lanier 
Joseph H. Larocque 

Edward A. Wickes 

1 See end of this chapter. 



of The Niagara Falls Power Company that surrendered its control to the 
owners of the hydraulic company was as follows: 


Edward D. Adams 
Charles Lanier 
Francis Lynde Stetson 


Nicholas Biddle Victor Morawetz 

Charles D. Dickie Robert W. Pomeroy 

Le Grand S. De Graff De Lancey Rankine 

Ogden Mills Carlton M. Smith 

Edward T. Stotesbury 



Stacy C. Richmond, President and Director 
Philip P. Barton, Vice-president and General Manager 
Frederick L. Lovelace, Secretary 
W. Paxton Little, Treasurer 

A. Monro Grier, President 


The novel methods necessarily adopted in the introduction of central power 
stations, inlet-canals, and discharge tunnels, also in the acquisition of the 
rights-of-way for electric power transmission lines, over, across and under 
the Erie Canal and public thoroughfares, required the exercise of corporate 
powers not provided in the general laws of the State of New York. A special 
law had been enacted by the legislature to meet these requirements so far as 
they could be anticipated in 1886. As additional powers were seen to be 
necessary, amendments to the original special act were granted and the public 
approved of these encouragements to the company, the success of which meant 
so much to the prosperity of the community. 


The relations between The Cataract Construction Company and The 
Niagara Falls Power Company were prescribed by five agreements, executed 



on and between July 5, 1889 1 and April 27, 1891. They were occasioned by 
the same reasons for which the charter of The Cataract Construction Com- 
pany was amended about six months after its original filing in 1889. The 
charter of The Niagara Falls Power Company of March 31, 1886, was 
amended five times, the last on April 25, 1893, and the permits issued by the 
Superintendent of Public Works of the State of New York, under which the 
transmission line to Buffalo was established, constituted a series of seven offi- 
cial certificates authorizing action, beginning August 30, 1895, and approving 
assignment of the completed line, October 14, 1898, to the Cataract Power 
and Conduit Company of Buffalo. 

The activities of the group of pioneers operating at Niagara Falls from 
1889 to 1898 were manifested in the aforedescribed documents. They indi- 
cated advances in the development of the enterprise, in the solution of the 
Niagara problem, the introduction of new agencies for power development 
and use affecting the interests of a large population and prompting state 
and municipal legislation to protect the people and at the same time to en- 
courage the promoters in their original work, that promised much to industries, 
values, taxation and civilization. 

The five agreements between the cataract and Niagara companies placed 
grave responsibilities upon the cataract company, which became the agent 
of the Niagara company. Upon it devolved the scientific investigations, the 
adoption of new systems of engineering, the selection of wise and experienced 
advisers and assistants, and the provision of a large amount of capital for the 
proper development of the great work undertaken. 


The Cataract Construction Company, acting upon the authority granted 
by the amendment to its charter, to acquire and administer the securities of 
other companies affiliated in interest with the objects of the cataract in- 
corporation, had purchased, by the terms of its agreement of July 5, 1889, with 
The Niagara Falls Power Company and its stockholders, the entire capital 
stock of that company. It later acquired the entire capital stocks of the fol- 
lowing companies : 

Lewiston Water Supply Company 

Organized under a special charter from the State of New York 
giving exclusive rights to take water from the Niagara River 
for power and other purposes. This company owned the report 
and plans of J. T. Fanning for power development at Niagara 

1 See page 234. 



on a grand scale. No action was taken under this charter, 
which expired in 1893 by limitation. 

Niagara Falls Water- Works Company 

Organized under the general laws of the State of New York and 
engaged in supplying potable water to the city and citizens of 
Niagara Falls under a contract with that municipality. This 
company was expanded in its resources and business, and was 
subsequently acquired by the Girard Trust Company of Phila- 
delphia, for account of the Western New York Water Com- 

Niagara Junction Railway Company 

Organized, financed and its property constructed by the cataract 
company, which retained a majority of its capital stock. 

Niagara Development Company 

Organized, financed and its property improved by the cataract 
company, which held a majority of its capital stock, that was 
subsequently exchanged for shares of The Niagara Falls Power 
Company, the parent company. 

Canadian Niagara Power Company 

Organized under a special charter granted by the Government 
of the Province of Ontario, Canada, to develop power within 
the Queen Victoria Niagara Falls Park from the waters of 
Niagara River under terms of rental for use of a prescribed 
area. The control of 60 per cent and later the balance of the 
capital stock were acquired. 

Four optional agreements were approved between the Niagara company 
and Frank W. Hawley, of Pittsford, New York, providing for the trans- 
mission of electrical power to Rochester, Syracuse, Utica, Albany and points 
between. These agreements were assigned to the Cataract General Electric 
Company, organized by Mr. Hawley and his associates for this purpose. 

The officers of the company were authorized to make similar contracts for 
the delivery of electrical power in Lockport, Wheatfield, Tonawanda and 
North Tonawanda. 

These agreements were designed to encourage experimental work by 
Mr. Hawley and his associates, and to determine the general terms upon 
which they might rely, should they succeed in their negotiations and desire 
a contract for the purchase of electrical power for transmission and distribu- 
tion. These efforts were not successful. 




In the meantime the organization of The Cataract Construction Company 
had been completed and preparation for construction was being pushed 
forward with an expansion of the plans and objects. The great strides being 
made in all things pertaining to hydro-electric development stimulated the 
minds of all concerned, and, in the winter of 1891, it became evident that re- 
course should again be had to the law-makers of the state, especially for 
enlarged powers in the means of transmission, for extension of the territory 
within which electricity could be transmitted, and for further rights of the 
company therein. 

The line of the main tunnel was determined September 12, 1890, by The 
Niagara Falls Power Company under the terms of its contract of April 1, 
1890, with The Cataract Construction Company: 

Beginning with the opening or portal at the water edge below the upper Suspension 
Bridge on lands lately owned by Jane S. Townsend and extending thence under the 
village of Niagara Falls in a straight line southeasterly 6700 feet more or less to the 
lands on the Niagara River lately owned by Myron H. Kinsley, with shaft sites (1) at 
the junction of Falls and Erie streets in said village, and (2) lots numbers 8, 10, 12 
and 14 Tenth Street, according to the plans on file in the office of this company at 
Niagara Falls. 

The sub-contract of The Cataract Construction Company for the construc- 
tion of the first section of the work was approved September 12, 1890. 


The activities of The Cataract Construction Company continued for ten 
years as the agent and attorney of The Niagara Falls Power Company, until, 
upon the demonstration of success of the engineering plans adopted, including 
the transmission of electric power to Buffalo, the cataract company sur- 
rendered its undertaking and withdrew from active operations, the Niagara 
company taking over the entire management of the property, and the officers 
of the cataract company assuming their relative positions in the Niagara 
company. (The cataract company held its capital intact for use in case of 
need by the Niagara company until 1910, when it liquidated and surrendered 
its charter. ) 


An agreement was entered into under date of May 31, 1899, between The 
Cataract Construction Company and The Niagara Falls Power Company, 
cancelling the five construction contracts existing between them and creating 
mutual releases by each company to the other. The execution of this agree- 
ment was approved by the stockholders of both companies, and proceedings 



were taken to effect a final and complete settlement, adjustment and termina- 
tion of all contract relations between the two companies. 

The relations between The Cataract Construction Company and The Ni- 
agara Falls Power Company had been established from time to time by 
mutual contracts as the desirability therefor arose. Many difficult problems 
had been sufficiently solved after the ten years of activity to justify definite 
action by The Niagara Falls Power Company in the adoption of a program 
of capitalization, with share and bond issues that would provide sufficient 
resources for its financial requirements. 

In order to give the enterprise, at the concluding stage of its construction, 
the credit that it was entitled to receive and might need in its finance and dis- 
tribution of securities, by publicly associating with The Niagara Falls Power 
Company the names of its original owners, as an indication of its strength 
upon which intending users of its power development might confidently rely, 
it was decided to replace the local trustees at Niagara who sold their interests 
to The Cataract Construction Company in 1890, by the election to the board 
of The Niagara Falls Power Company the directors of The Cataract Con- 
struction Company who had represented the ownership that would there- 
after alone be responsible for the construction and management. 

The annual meeting of the stockholders of The Niagara Falls Power Com- 
pany, on June 6, 1899, was therefore availed of to make these changes in its 
official organization. The directors and officers of The Niagara Falls Power 
Company elected at that time were as follows: 





Darius O. Mills 


F. L. Lovelace 
Assistant Secretary and Assistant 

W. Paxton Little 

First Vice-president 

Edward A. Wickes 

Second Vice-president and Treasurer 
William B. Rankine 


Edward D. Adams 
John Jacob Astor 
George S. Bowdoin 

Joseph H. Larocque 
Darius O. Mills 
William B. Rankine 
Francis Lynde Stetson 
F. W. Whitridge 

Charles F. Clark 
Charles Lanier 

Edward A. Wickes 




Edward D. Adams Francis Lynde Stetson 

Charles Lanier Darius O. Mills 

F. W. Whitridge 

At this time it was ordered that the 

First Vice-president have charge of the New York office, and that the 

Second Vice-president have charge of the Niagara office, and make the same his 
headquarters : 

that the books of the company be kept at the Niagara office, and that there be kept in 
the New York office summarized accounts from which statements could be made at any 
time of the financial condition of the allied companies, their earnings, income and 


At a meeting of the directors, December 20, 1899, called for the purpose 
of closing the affairs of The Cataract Construction Company, it was recorded 
in the minutes that 

this board reviews with satisfaction its work of construction now completed under 
contracts with The Niagara Falls Power Company. In the important preliminary in- 
vestigations here and abroad, of the many and novel questions arising in connection with 
the plans for the development of Niagara power ; in the strengthening of the power 
company's comprehensive corporate rights and franchises; in the judicious conduct, 
during the past ten years, of its various works of construction ; in the attracting of 
many important industries now using that power, and in the accomplishment of a suc- 
cessful transmission of power to Buffalo, this board recognizes and desires officially to 
acknowledge its deep sense of obligation for the valuable services rendered to it and to 
the company, without salary, by its first vice-president, Francis Lynde Stetson, whose 
able counsel, executive ability and continuous devotion to its interests have contributed 
so largely to the success of the Niagara enterprise. 

It was 

Resolved: That the official thanks of the company and of this board are hereby 
tendered to Francis Lynde Stetson, its first vice-president, for such services, and that 
this minute be inscribed upon the records of the company. 

An engrossed copy of this record was presented to Mr. Stetson, bearing the 
signatures of all his associate directors and accompanied by an imported 
salver of old English silver suitably inscribed. 




Edward D. Adams, President 

Francis Lynde Stetson, First Vice-president 

Edward A. Wickes, Second Vice-president 

William B. Rankine, Secretary and Treasurer 

John Jacob Astor 

George S. Bowdoin 

Charles F. Clark 

Charles Lanier 

Joseph H. Larocque 

Darius Ogden Mills 

Frederick W. Whitridge 


The circular of The Cataract Construction Company of September 30, 
1899, to the subscribers under the original agreement dated January 17, 1890, 

The construction of the principal works of The Niagara Falls Power Company by 
The Cataract Construction Company has been completed and the several construction 
contracts between those companies have been terminated and cancelled. The Cataract 
Construction Company, therefore, is now prepared to go into liquidation and to make 
distribution among its stockholders of its remaining assets. 

At the beginning of the year 1900, The Cataract Construction Company, 
that had been in full charge of the work since 1890, acting as agent of The Ni- 
agara Falls Power Company, initiating development and financing construc- 
tion, surrendered its authority and proceeded to liquidate its assets for the 
payment of all liabilities and the distribution of its profits. 

At the period of withdrawal of the cataract company from activity in 
preparation for liquidation and dissolution, the works of the Niagara company 
consisted of eight power units of 5000 horse-power each, operating under 
leases of 42,575 horse-power, and producing $100,000 of surplus income over 
operating expenses and interest charges on about $9,000,000 of bonds issued 
and outstanding. 

In anticipation of possible extensions of the enterprise for which the ex- 
perience, credit and organization of The Cataract Construction Company 
might again be useful to the interests of The Niagara Falls Power Company, 
the corporate organization and the share capital of The Cataract Construc- 
tion Company were maintained, but without employment, until April 1, 1909, 



when the capital, with accrued interest, was distributed to the stockholders and 
the charter was surrendered to the state. 


The Cataract Construction Company's capital stock of $25,000 was all 
subscribed for and fully paid for in cash at its par value in 1890. This capital 
was repaid when the charter was surrendered in 1909. 

Subscriptions by the stockholders were also made at par for the preferred 
shares of the Development and Railway companies, that were exchanged ten 
years thereafter, at par and accrued interest, for $674,000 par value of The 
Niagara Falls Power Company, at par. 

The shareholders received at various times pro rata distributions of the 
company's surplus earnings, amounting to $264,750 in cash, $250,000 in par 
value of the first mortgage 5 per cent bonds of The Niagara Falls Power 
Company, $1,800,000 in par value of its capital stock and the privilege, pur- 
suant to the terms of the original syndicate agreements of 1890, to subscribe 
to $7,196,000 of The Niagara Falls Power Company bonds at 90 per cent 
of their par value. 

During the years from 1890 to 1900, there was contributed by the stock- 
holders of The Cataract Construction Company, in cash, to the capital funds 
of the enterprise the total amount of $7,044,500 for which they received in 
dividends and cash from subscriptions the following securities of 

The Niagara Falls Power Company, viz: 

$8,832,000 first mortgage 5 per cent bonds 

3,974,000 capital stock, par value, and 

289,750 cash, equivalent to par or $100 per share for the 
capital stock, and 31.5 per cent for the par value of 
the bonds. 


Main Tunnel Intersection by Wheel-pit Discharge Tunnel, 
Both of Same Size and Form 










In illustrating this chapter with the photographs of these colleagues, it 
has seemed appropriate to associate their portraits with symbols of their im- 
portance in the combination of which they formed the principal part. These 
symbols are some of the cut granite stones in the arch of the intersection, at 
an angle of sixty degrees, of the tail-race horseshoe tunnel from the wheel- 
pit slot under the Power-house Number One, with the main outlet horseshoe 
tunnel of the same dimensions discharging into the Niagara River. The 
symbol-stones under the following portraits are numbered to correspond with 
the numbers on the same stones in the arch on page 246. 

With the exception of the four pioneers that constituted La Partie Carree, the por- 
traits have been grouped as pioneer and successor directors and officers. 

Edward Dean Adams 
*Edward A. Wickes 

*John Jacob Astor 
*John Crosby Brown 
*Walter Howe • 
* Joseph H. Larocque 
*Darius Ogden Mills 
*Nicholas Biddle 
*Temple Bowdoin 
*Charles D. Dickie 

Victor Morawetz 

De Lancey Rankine 
*Carlton M. Smith 
*Charles A. Sweet 

Frederick L. Lovelace 

A. Monro 

*Francis Lynde Stetson 
*William Birch Rankine 

*George S. Bowdoin 
*Charles F. Clark 
*Charles Lanier 
*Leith of Fyvie 
*Frederick W. Whitridge 

Le Grand S. De Graff 

Arthur H. Masten 

Ogden Mills 

Robert W. Pomeroy 
*Stacy C. Richmond 

E. T. Stotesbury 

George H. Kent 

YV. Paxton Little 

* Deceased 



Edward Dean Adams 


The Cataract Construction Company 

The Niagara Falls Power Company 

Francis Lynde Stetson 

The Cataract Construction Company 


The Niagara Falls Power Company 





Edward A. Wickes 

The Cataract Construction Company 


The Niagara Falls Power Company 

William Birch Rankine 

The Cataract Construction Company 

The Niagara Falls Power Company 









Walter Howe Charles Lanier 

Director Trustee 
The Cataract Construction Company "Money Subscribers" 


The Cataract Construction Company 

The Niagara Falls Power Company 






Darius Ogden Mills Frederick W. Whitridge 

Director Director 

The Cataract Construction Company The Cataract Construction Company 

President Director 

The Niagara Falls Power Company The Niagara Falls Power Company 



















De Lancey Rankine Stacy C. Richmond 

Treasurer, 1891-1893 President, 1917-1918 

The Niagara Falls Power Company The Niagara Falls Power Cosipany 




Carlton M. Smith 


The Niagara Falls Power Company 

E. T. Stotesbury 

The Niagara Falls Power Company 





Charles A. Sweet George H. Kent 

Vice-president Director 

The Niagara Falls Power Company 

The Cataract Construction Company 

The Cataract Construction Company 





A. Monro Grier 


The Cataract Construction Company 

Canadian Niagara Power Company 




The Granite Voussoir Stones for the Tunnel Intersections Involved 
Problems of Stereotomy Rarely Equalled in Complexity 






Chapter XIII 

One of our pressing duties as engineers consists in 

devoting ourselves to the most serious consideration of 

applying all possible water-power to supplement the 

work of coal, and so reduce consumption or increase 

the utility of our most important asset. 

Sir Dugae Clerk, K.B.E., F.R.S. 
Chairman of Conjoint Board 
of Scientific Societies 
Report on Water-power in the 
British Empire, 1922 



THE many questions, all of much importance, that surrounded the problem 
of harnessing Niagara, prompted the associates considering the enterprise, 
during the year 1889, to seek technical advice from engineers who had special- 
ized in their professions and had already achieved success in their chosen fields. 

It was recognized that the problem was novel in many ways. Many persons 
had boldly attacked it but all had failed; their experiences were interpreted 
by their successors as indicating what should be avoided rather than as show- 
ing the way for further efforts to solve the problem. 

Some of the impressive facts to be kept constantly in mind were : 

Water similar in quantity and velocity had not yet been controlled 
for power use. 

The New York State Reservation on the river bank restricted ap- 
proach for about IY2 miles, both above and below the Great Falls. 

The change of the river's course at the falls created a right angle 
in the bordering lands that attracted settlers, this property being 
considered desirable for residence as well as for manufacturing, 
because of its nearness to the water and its height above the river 
for power development. 

The top-soil to an average depth of about ten feet, covered horizon- 
tal layers of hard limestone and of shale, that required blasting 
for excavations. 


Progress may be recapitulated in the following brief paragraphs : 

The preliminary investigations 1 in 1889, by conference with experts were 
in the nature of friendly counsel and opened the vista of doubt and difficulties. 

Thomas A. Edison, Dr. Henry Morton, of Hoboken, and Dr. Coleman 
Sellers, of Philadelphia, were among the first professional engineers and 
scientists retained to examine the documents submitted and to advise as to the 
wisest course for an exhaustive study of the enterprise. 

Clemens Herschel, of Holyoke, hydraulic engineer, was also called in to 
assist in the analysis of the claims made for the project under examination. 

As soon as it became apparent that electricity in its latest developments 
had taken its place for consideration by the side of pneumatic and hydraulic 
transmission of power, Prof. Henry A. Rowland of Baltimore, physicist, 
was retained as adviser. 

1 Reported at length in Chapter VIII. 



Dr. Coleman Sellers, who had assisted in investigating the subject in the 
latter part of 1889, was appointed consulting engineer of The Cataract Con- 
struction Company (subsequently chief engineer) and chief engineer of The 
Niagara Falls Power Company, from January 1, 1890, and immediately 
devoted himself to a thorough understanding of the local situation at Niagara, 

John Bogart 

Consulting Engineer 

the past attempts to utilize the waters of the river and the project of Thomas 
E vershed for water-power development that had been acquired by the Niagara 
River Hydraulic Tunnel, Power and Sewer Company which was then under 
investigation by a financial group in New York. 

John Bogart, of Albany, New York, state engineer, then engaged in 
measuring the recession of the Great Falls, was retained as consulting engineer 
to prepare a detailed and large-sized map of the location under consider- 
ation, showing the contour lines on land and under water, to facilitate the 



preparation of plans for construction, the probable costs of which were 
uncertain and of great interest at that time from a financial point of view. 

In this work he was assisted by Albert H. Porter, a civil engineer, recently 
of the engineering staff of the New Croton Aqueduct of New York, who 
was appointed resident engineer at Niagara Falls. 

Albert H. Porter 
Resident Engineer 
The Cataract Construction Company 

Mr. Bogart and Mr. Porter assisted Dr. Coleman Sellers, chief engineer, 
in his organization of the engineering staff of the company; Clemens Herschel, 
the hydraulic engineer, also co-operating in this work. 

While each of these engineers presented one or more written reports, they 
all attended personal conferences that greatly enlightened the investigations 
and facilitated the formulation of constructive plans for the year 1890. 

As soon as it was determined to proceed with the Niagara project, to the 
extent, at least, of constructing the first section of the tunnel, a 20,000 



horse-power development for distribution, a group of engineers were selected 
that were competent to advise the directors of The Cataract Construction 
Company, under the leadership of Dr. Coleman Sellers. 


This organization was made by Dr. Coleman Sellers, as chief engineer, for 
the purposes of considering formally, at recorded meetings and otherwise, 
the various questions that came before its members for determination as the 
policies of The Cataract Construction Company were developed by the 
International Niagara Commission and other scientific advisers and were 
submitted to the advisory board of engineers for consideration in application 
to the local conditions and prospective requirements. 

The advisory board of engineers was organized from among those enlisted 
in the services of the two companies, consisting of 

Dr. Coleman Sellers, Chairman, Chief Engineer of The Niagara 
Falls Power Company 

John Bogart, Secretary, Consulting Engineer of The Cataract 
Construction Company 

George B. Burbank, Chief Engineer of Construction, of The 
Cataract Construction Company 

Clemens Herschel, Hydraulic Engineer, of The Cataract Con- 
struction Company 

Albert H. Porter, Resident Engineer, of The Cataract Construc- 
tion Company 

Theodore Turrettini, Foreign Consulting Engineer, of Geneva, 
Switzerland, joined in 1891. 

Dr. Sellers represented the cataract company and its allied interests upon 
the International Niagara Commission, a full account of which is given in 
Chapter X; and Colonel Turrettini represented thereon the engineering 
organizations of Switzerland and became the foreign representative of the 
cataract company after the disbandment of the commission. 

The advisory board of engineers held its first meeting February 27, 1890, 
and continued its deliberations until December 31, 1892, when it disbanded. 

There were many meetings, held mostly at the office of The Cataract Con- 
struction Company at Niagara Falls, but occasionally at New York in con- 
ference with the directors of the company. 

The records of the meetings show that they were frequently attended by 
the various consulting engineers engaged in special services for the company. 




The officers of the company were frequent visitors at Niagara and often at 
the conferences of the advisory board of engineers. They were occasionally ac- 
companied by technical experts, particularly during the period of the World's 
Fair in Chicago in 1893, when the visiting foreign engineers were numerous 
and manifested so much interest that it was thought that they came to this 
country principally to examine the Niagara construction, and incidentally 
to take a "look in" at the Chicago fair. 

La Partie Carree 

Edward D. Adams Francis Lynde Stetson 

President Vice-president 
Edward A. Wickes William B. Rankin e 

Vice-president The Cataract Construction Company Treasurer 

The officers of the construction company generally appeared in Niagara 
Falls on Saturday mornings and devoted their time, at the works, to the con- 
struction, its progress and problems, and in the office to the examination of 
plans and estimates, and to conferences, returning to New York by the 
Sunday night train, usually after dining with associates in Buffalo. 


They were Edward D. Adams, president, Francis Lynde Stetson, vice- 
president, Edward A. Wickes, vice-president, and William B. Rankine, 
treasurer, who were known among their associates as La Partie Carree, and in 



effect were a sub-committee of the executive committee and prepared the 
principal business matters for its consideration, by their personal inspections 
of the construction and their conferences with the engineers at Niagara. 

In 1897, when the construction works had proceeded sufficiently to be visu- 
alized as a complete project and would-be users of the developing system of 
power distribution began to comprehend its facilities and to negotiate for 
locations and use in manufacturing, Mr. Rankine established his residence 
as the chief executive of the company at Niagara Falls. It was there that 
he died in 1905, having seen the fruition of his labors and enjoyed the friend- 
ship of his associates. The other members of this Partie Carree survived 
the thirty-year period of their Niagara venture, and assisted at the concluding 
session of the directors of The Niagara Falls Power Company, when they 
surrendered their control of a successful enterprise and authorized its union 
with its successful and older neighbor, the Hydraulic Power Company of 
Niagara Falls. 


The advisory board of engineers, during the two years of its existence, had 
under consideration some of the most interesting scientific problems in engi- 
neering to solve, practically, in their application to the conditions obtaining at 
Niagara Falls, where water in quantity and force, without precedent in 
control, was to be harnessed by methods to be selected from several previously 
employed in a comparatively unimportant manner and under entirely different 

The advisory board of engineers brought to their work an unusually broad 
basis of scientific attainments and extended personal experience to guide them 
in their deliberations. 

The Cataract Construction Company had consulted some of the leading 
engineers in this country, upon the question, "How can we utilize commer- 
cially the waters of the Niagara River?" They all recognized in some degree 
that old methods might be improved by new sciences, but so little was known 
of the art of their application, especially under such unprecedented con- 
ditions as those at Niagara, that, although their reports made mention of 
such theories, they pointed out the speculative risks involved in what would 
necessarily prove very expensive experiments, and advised dependence at 
first only upon that which had been tried and continued for many years of 
successful use. 

The private reports from scientific circles abroad, of important progress 
in the investigation of electrical methods for the utilization of water-powers, 
prompted a careful research upon the subject, which resulted in the reference 
of the Niagara problem to a group of international scientists, whose decisions 



would be recognized as of the highest authority, and whose opinions and their 
supporting details of definite statements and proposals furnished a broad 
platform upon which the advisory board of engineers could build a new struc- 
ture, that would be adapted to the locality of the Great Falls, and would 
really represent the state of the hydraulic and associated arts at the date of 
its construction. 


The following brief statement summarizes the principal subjects that the 
advisory board of engineers was called upon from time to time to consider, 
in 1890 and 1891 : 

The Main Tunnel, or Tail-race, 

its first section, with a capacity of 120,000 horse-power, 

the shortest line from water-inlet to outlet, 

its grade, considering the stratification of the rocks and the 

river level, 
cross-section and shafts, 
lining or surface-finish, 
portal and ice protection; 

The Second, or Relief Tunnel, 

its location and possible details of construction, 
connection with main tunnel, 
shafts and portal ; 

The Inlet-canal, or Head-race, 

capacity for 200,000 horse-power, 

provision for 100,000 electric horse-power and 100,000 pneu- 
matic horse-power, to be developed in separate power- 
houses on opposite sides of the canal, 

ice protection and discharge ; 

The Wheel-pit Slot, 

to provide for at least 20 water turbines each of not less than 
5000 horse-power, to be directly connected by a single shaft 
to its corresponding engine of power conversion ; 

The Supplemental Cross-tunnel, 

a connection for power development at foot of canal and on 
land east of canal; 



The Manufacturing Districts, 
their locations, 

streets and power conduits, 
railway sidings, 
trolley connections ; 

The Residential District, 
its location, 

improvement by plan of gradual development with dwellings, 

streets and sidewalks, 

sewage conduits and disposal works, 

potable water and distribution under pressure, 

drainage system, 

electric lighting, 



hall for meetings, 

house for school, 

fire protection ; 

The Terminal, or Junction, Railway, 
its location, 

crossings of railways and streets, 
connections with other railways, 
equipment and operation, 
yards for storage and transfers, 
sidings at factories, 

tariff relations with connecting railroads and local customers ; 

The Water Company, 

for supply of potable water, 
pumping and filtration plant, 
fire protection for new community ; 

The Central Power Stations, 
and office building. 

The awarding of the contract for the alternators following the determina- 
tion of the vital questions involved in the hydraulic and electric systems 



adopted, and the near approach of completion of much of the construction 
work in progress, permitted the disbandment of the board of engineers of 
The Cataract Construction Company on January 1, 1894, and the retirement, 
on April 1, 1894, of George B. Burbank as its chief engineer, in charge of 

George B. Burbank 

Resident Consulting Engineer 
Chief Engineer 

construction. The following resolution to his credit was placed in the records 
of the company : 

RESOLVED, That this company hereby make record of its appreciation of the faithful 
service, ability and integrity which have characterized Mr. Burbank's connection with 
its Engineering Department since June, 1891, as Resident Consulting Engineer and as 
Chief Engineer. 



The most important subject for determination by the advisory board of 
engineers was that of the hydraulic system to be adopted in lieu of that 
proposed under the Evershed plan. The greatest influence in this decision, 
other than that of financial expenditures required, was the preliminary adop- 
tion of the idea of a central station and a single water-inlet and a single 
discharge for the entire hydraulic development. 

As this question pertained principally to the engineering domain of 
Clemens Herschel, the hydraulic engineer, educated in Germany, familiar also 
with the language and works of French engineers, and of extended experi- 
ence in this country in various forms of applied hydraulics, it was thought 
advantageous to him, as well as to the cataract company, if he should be 
brought into direct personal relations with the eminent engineers constituting 
the International Niagara Commission in London. 

Mr. Herschel, therefore, conferred with the commission in London about 
the first of October, 1890, where he availed of his opportunity for an exchange 
of experiences, particularly with Messrs. Unwin, of London, Turrettini, of 
Geneva, and Dr. Sellers, the company's chief engineer, who had been in 
Europe as a member of the commission since its organization in June, 1890. 
Mr. Herschel returned in the following October to Niagara, where he put 
into effect a change in the proposed grade of the tunnel, recommended some 
other changes in the Evershed plan, and developed his own plans for the 
portal, ice-run, and other details of the tunnel, that were adopted. 

Many minor questions, incidental to the foundation of a system of power 
distribution from a central station to a large and extended area, were con- 
sidered by the advisory board of engineers, before the end of the year 1893, 
that was a period of great activity. 


The final series of sessions of the Niagara commission were held in Lon- 
don commencing January 29, 1891, and continuing for six days, for the 
consideration of the projects submitted in competition. Messrs. Herschel 
and Porter, of the advisory board of engineers, attended those sessions by 
invitation and heard the explanations given by the competitors of the details 
of their projects. There were fourteen separate proposals, several of which 
included two or more designs. Four proposals were for developing power, 
two for distribution, and eight for both development and distribution. Com- 
plete plans, in English measure, and estimates of costs, with elaborate de- 
scriptive memoirs in English, were furnished each of the five members of the 



commission for consideration in advance of the meetings at which the com- 
petitors were present with their technical experts. 

Two of the foreign competitors availed themselves of the general invitation 
to visit Niagara for conferences with the company's engineers prior to the 
completion of their design and memoirs. 

The visiting engineers from Europe and New York were in daily confer- 
ence between the sessions of the commission in London. 

Messrs. Herschel and Porter returned home in the latter part of February, 
and Dr. Sellers in March, 1891, rendering their several reports of the con- 
ferences attended, visits made to engineering works, and impressions received. 


As the construction work progressed, additional engineers were engaged 
to advise and to design the machines for development and distribution of 

electric power, and to formulate working plans, prepare specifications, secure 
responsible and skillful contractors, supervise their work, and generally to 
contribute their experience and ability for the guidance of the officers in 
formulating the policies of their company. 

Although the scientific group selected to advise and direct the operations 
of the company was mainly composed of technical experts, specialists in the 
various departments of science embraced in the problem undertaken, there 
were engineers in the group who were prepared for emergencies, even where 
action involved the use of knowledge pertaining to other departments of 
science than their own specialty. 

This resourcefulness in time of need, this adaptability to the unexpected, 
is one of the valuable attributes of the American engineer, particularly when 
in the field, as was frequently manifested in the design and execution of the 
novel undertaking at Niagara. 



A young engineer, assisting in the surveys preceding the construction of 
the tunnel, describes an incident in his experience that illustrates the use of 
some knowledge of entomology and botany to overcome an obstacle that 
seemed insuperable, temporarily at least, when time and accuracy were of 
great importance in his surveying program. 

The tunnel was projected to pass under the most inhabited portion of the 
town of Niagara, on the shortest line to the lower river; alignment towers 
were erected at various points, from which the surveyors were able, in the 
autumn of 1890, when the foliage had fallen, to sight their lines over the 
intervening buildings and trees. 

When revising the proposed tunnel line in the following spring, after the 
new leaves had appeared on certain of the larger trees, it was found that 

A Sketch of the Alignment Tower Erected Near the New York Central Railroad 
Station at Niagara Falls, Comprising Two Towers, One within 
the Other, but each Supported Independently 

the former line of sight was not clear, and trouble and greater chance of 
error were anticipated if it became necessary to carry the line forward by 
offsets. The engineer explains his problem and its solution as follows: 

In determining the line of the tunnel from the portal it was necessary to throw the 
line to the Canadian side of the gorge. The first obstacle in the way was the New York 
Central Railroad station. This, of course, could not be cut through. An observation 
tower was built alongside of the station building, in order to get over, not only that 
building, but the town of Niagara and the houses that lay between that point and the 
American side of the gorge. From the top of this tower it was a simple thing to throw 
the line into Canada after points were established on the Canadian side of the gorge; 
the difficulty lay in the fact that such points in Canada, as could be observed from the 



tower, were too far back from the edge of the gorge to throw the line down to the portal 
of the tunnel, which was not far above the water level on the American side. The sole 
obstacle to the necessary observation of points close to the edge of the Canadian side of 
the gorge was a basswood tree on the American side, situated in the street just the other 
side of the station building. 

The owners of the tree were approached in an effort to obtain permission to remove 
a few small top branches, for which they would be fairly compensated. An offer was 
even made to purchase the tree, but the owners, possibly taking advantage of our pre- 
dicament, held out for an exorbitant price. 

Feeling that it would be an unwarranted waste of time to wait until the tree should 
shed its leaves in the fall, I racked my brains for an alternative solution. It occurred 
to me that some insect pest might be found, which would hasten the effect of the autumn 
weather. As I was driving about the country a good deal in those days, on both the 
American and the Canadian sides, in an effort to locate a sand or gravel deposit, I was 
afforded abundant opportunity for observation of the ravages of insects upon the 
various species of trees of the neighborhood. It was, however, only after long search 
that I came, one day on the Canadian side, upon a clump of similar trees infested with 
caterpillars. As they were of easy access, I cut two or three small branches on which 
the nests were built, and brought them back to the office of the company on the American 

Then came the question of installing these new tenants in the peace haven. I was 
satisfied that it was not a daylight operation, and hesitated about taking any one into 
my confidence. Prompt action was necessary, as there were not leaves enough on the 
branches that I had brought home to feed the caterpillars for any length of time. The 
tree was a hard one to climb, so I tied a stone to the end of a fishing line and threw it 
into the tree, and after two or three trials I was satisfied with the crotch of the limb that 
the stone went over. By this means I hoisted my caterpillar nests into the tree. The 
crotch being a sharp one, they jammed very securely, and I felt safe in breaking the 
string. The caterpillars, known as clisiocampa disstria, or "forest tent caterpillar," 
did their work with surprising rapidity, and no further negotiations were necessary with 
the owner of the tree. Within ten days we were able to get a glimpse of the edge of the 
gorge on the Canadian side and to set a point on the main line without going to the 
trouble of offsets, so that our line went through promptly by direct sighting. 

In addition to the members of the advisory board of engineers of The Cata- 
ract Construction Company, organized in 1890 by Dr. Coleman Sellers, chief 
engineer, there were appointed, from time to time and for periods as required 
in the progressive development of this company's affairs : 


William Cawthorne Unwin, London, late member and secretary 
International Niagara Commission 

Col. Theodore Turrettini, Geneva, late member International 
Niagara Commission 

Prof. George Forbes, London, Electrical Engineer 



Arthur E. Kennelly (Kennelly and Houston), Philadelphia, 
Electrical Engineer 

Gen. Daniel W. Flagler, U. S. A., Buffalo, New York 

Charles C. Egbert, Niagara Falls, New York, Mechanical 

William A. Brackenridge 
Chief Engineer of 
The Cataract Construction Company 

Horatio A. Foster, New York, Expert Mechanical and Steam 

Prof. James Furman Kemp, New York, Geologist 
Col. Walter Katte, New York, Civil Engineer 

As the preparations for construction proceeded, additional engineers were 
engaged, and later, from time to time, others joined the staff for the 



installation of the turbines and shafts, for the erection of the generators and 
switchboard, and for the operation and maintenance of the hydro-electric 
machinery: construction engineers 

William A. Brackenridge, Resident Engineer and Chief Engi- 
neer of The Cataract Construction Company 
George Frederick Simpson, Assistant Engineer, expert in stere- 
otomy, in charge of certain details of tunnel design and con- 

A. H. Van Cleve, Resident Engineer and later Consulting 

Mac Donough Craven, Division Engineer 
William S. Humbert, Division Engineer 
Edward D. Very, Division Engineer 
Edward D. Bolton, Division Engineer 
Francis N. Biron, Division Engineer 
C. F. Lawton, Acting Assistant Engineer 
Albert W. Pierson, Construction Engineer 

operating engineers 
Philip P. Barton, General Manager 
Lorin E. Imlay, Superintendent 

The foreign designers of the hydraulic machinery sent their representatives 
to this country to supervise the construction, erection and operation of their 
devices, some of which were made in Switzerland and some in Pennsylvania. 

The first three turbines were made by the I. P. Morris Company, of 
Philadelphia, under the supervision of Messrs. Rudolphe Baumann and H. 
Vogel, mechanical engineers from Geneva, representing Messrs. Faesch and 
Piccard, designers of the Niagara turbines of the first power-house, to whom 
the highest award was made by the International Niagara Commission for 
hydraulic projects. 

To prepare for the erection and operation of the turbines, De Courcy May, 
general manager of the I. P. Morris Company that constructed them, joined 
the engineering staff of The Cataract Construction Company at Niagara, as 
its engineer and general superintendent of the machinery of the power-house. 

Soon after the installation in 1897 of the last of the first group of four 
electrical alternators in Power-house Number One, Lewis B. Stillwell,' chief 

1 For portrait, see Chapter XXII, Volume II. 



electrical engineer of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Com- 
pany, was appointed electrical director of The Cataract Construction 
Company. Mr. Stillwell had taken an important part in the design and 
supervision of construction of the Westinghouse apparatus. Philip P. Barton, 

Philip P. Barton 

The Niagara Falls Power Company 
and Its Filial Companies 
Vice-president and Manager 

who became assistant electrical superintendent of The Niagara Falls Power 
Company, had also served in the works of the Westinghouse Company. 

The General Electric Company designed and built all the electrical alter- 
nators and their auxiliary apparatus for Power-house Number Two. 

In the organization of a staff of young electrical engineers to take charge 
of the first switchboard, in Power-house Number One, three applicants were 
selected who served in three shifts of eight hours each, and remained in their 



position for several years. They were those here named with their present 
engineering positions : 

J. B. Whitehead, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Dean 

of School of Engineering, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, 



Lorin E. Imlay 

The Niagara Falls Power Company 


Canadian Niagara Power Company 
Superintendent op Operation 

Raymond S. Masson, Consulting Engineer, Los Angeles, California 

Simon Brewster Storer, President and Chief Engineer, Seneca 
River Power Company, Syracuse, New York 

Harold W. Buck, 1 of the engineering staff of the General Electric Com- 
pany, became the electrical engineer in charge of Power-house Number Two 

1 For portrait, see Chapter XXVIII, Volume II. 



and of the initial half of the Canadian Niagara Power Company development 
as well as all other portions of the electrical system, and a valued addition 
to the electrical engineering forces of the cataract company. In this, as in 
the instances previously mentioned, successful design, construction, installa- 

Alexander D. Robb 

The Niagara Falls Power Company, mcmxviii 
First Employed by Dr. Coleman Sellers as Me- 
chanical Inspector, 1904; Assistant Superintend- 
ent Canadian Niagara Power Company, 1906, 
Superintendent, 1918; Superintendent Canadian 
Niagara Power Company and Niagara Plant of 
The Niagara Falls Power Company, mcmxviii, 1919 

tion and operation were acceptable recommendations for the service of an 
engineer to care for the product of his skill. 

The distant transmission line to Buffalo was also the subject of serious 
study, as one of many novel devices, without precedent, requiring an engi- 
neering and inventing vision to anticipate and prevent the possibility of 
accident or mistake. The construction of this line was placed under the 



charge of Paul M. Lincoln, 1 now Professor-Director in charge of the De- 
partment of Electric Engineering at Cornell University. 

All the appointments mentioned were justified by their results. The practi- 
cal experience in design and construction, the careful supervision of operation 

Charles C. Egbert 
Mechanical Engineer 
Cornell University, 1895 
Swiss Federal Polytechnicum, 1896 
The Niagara Falls Power Company and 
Canadian Niagara Power Company 

and repair, with the spirit of personal interest in comparative performance, 
made the opportunities of these appointments a matter of satisfaction to the 
officers of the company. The later recognition of these men by their profes- 
sional associates is shown by their records after the three power-houses had 
been completed, their hydro-electric prime movers installed, and their capacity 
output successfully distributed to local and distant consumers. 

1 For portrait, see Chapter XXVIII, Volume II. 



The American Institute of Electrical Engineers elected to the honorable 
position of president, each in his turn, the three former electrical engineers 
of The Niagara Falls Power Company, Lewis Buckley Stillwell ( 1909-1910 ) , 
Paul M. Lincoln ( 1914-1915) , and Harold W. Buck ( 1916-1917) . A. E. Ken- 
nelly (1898-1900), past-president of the American Institute of Electrical 
Engineers, was also employed by the cataract company as consulting engineer. 
The careers of these engineers and contributions by them to this history appear 

The engineering organization of The Niagara Falls Power Company at 
the date of its consolidation with its successor company of mcmxviii was 
as follows: 

Philip P. Barton, Vice-president and General Manager 
Charles C. Egbert, Mechanical Engineer 
Lorin E. Imlay, Engineer-Superintendent 
Alexander D. Robb, Engineer 

The engineering department of the new consolidated organization was 
that already under the leadership of John L. Harper, as chief engineer. 








Chapter XIV 


Provided as Treasury Assets by 

The Cataract Construction Company, 1890-1000 ... $ 7,044,500 

The Niagara Falls Power Company, 1900-1918 . . . 13,226,320 

Total Cash, 1890-1918 $20,270,820 








AFTER careful consideration, during 1889 and the beginning of 1890, of 
• the several reports upon the Niagara project by various expert engi- 
neers and numerous conferences with each, and extended investigations as to 
the commercial as well as the various financial questions involved in the under- 
taking, it was the opinion of those who had expressed an interest in the pro- 
posed venture, that : 

1. The primary expenditure should be limited to the probable cost, 

liberally estimated, of the shortest section of tunnel and its 
appurtenances that would produce manufacturing facilities 
sufficient to provide interest upon the capital expenditures and 
the expense of maintaining the power-plant ; 

2. Additional acreage should be acquired, while obtainable at moder- 

ate prices, to provide greater areas for factory requirements, 
shipping, dwellings, and local transportation; 

3. Improvements of water-supply for potable purposes, and exten- 

sion of the sewerage and lighting systems, should be provided ; 

4. The construction of the first section of the tunnel and the inlet- 

canal for the water-supply should be contracted for as soon as 
the necessary rights-of-way and property could be secured and 
plans prepared. 

It was recognized that the method of developing the power and its dis- 
tribution, locally as well as at a distance, was an open question, and that 
while the tunnel was under construction there would be ample time to in- 
vestigate the various systems in use, particularly the latest designs adopted 
abroad, before deciding whether compressed air, electricity, or other means 
should be utilized in distributing the power. 



The power and construction organizations provided had been given general 
powers of capitalization that were considered sufficiently comprehensive and 
flexible to provide suitable securities for the financing of the undertaking. 


The Niagara Falls Power Company, the permanent organization, had 
been granted under special and amendatory laws of the State of New York a 
liberal charter under which it was authorized to issue its capital stock and 
bonds, practically to whatever extent required, for its needs in construction 
and finance. 

The Cataract Construction Company was the organization designed to 
represent all the money subscribers to the enterprise and to be the means of 
their profiting by its contract with The Niagara Falls Power Company for 
the design and construction of the entire property to be acquired by the latter, 
by the issue of its shares and bonds to The Cataract Construction Company in 
payment therefor. 

The Cataract Construction Company was organized June 13, 1889, with an 
authorized capital stock of $25,000 divided into 500 shares of a par value of $50 
each. It was authorized to commence business upon a paid-up capital of $5000, 
which was subscribed and paid in cash by Edward A. Wickes, fifty shares, 
Francis Lynde Stetson, forty shares, and William B. Rankine, ten shares, 
all of New York City. 

It also entered into an agreement on July 5, 1889, with all the stockholders 
of the Niagara River Hydraulic Tunnel, Power and Sewer Company 1 
whereby they agreed to sell their shares to The Cataract Construction Com- 
pany for $200,000, payable, one half in money and one half in bonds, under 
various conditions as in said agreement set forth. In this arrangement the 
cataract company acquired all the lands and options on lands, rights-of-way 
and franchises of the Niagara company, and became its business and financial 

An increase of the capital stock of The Cataract Construction Company 
to $25,000, the maximum authorized under its charter, was voted by the 
stockholders January 25, 1890, and the officers were authorized to receive 
subscriptions in cash for such increase of 400 shares, at their par value of 
$50 each. 


An agreement under date of January 17, 1890, was made by the cataract 
company with subscribers to its shares and to the first mortgage bonds of 

1 Name changed Nov. 11, 1889, to The Niagara Falls Power Company. 



the Niagara company. All subscriptions were made for single blocks, or 
multiples, of the aforementioned securities : 

The Cataract Construction Company, one share at par value ... $ 50 

The Niagara Falls Power Company, $7250 first mortgage five per 

cent bonds, at 90 per cent 6,525 

Total cash for each "block" of securities $6,575 

As there were 400 shares of cataract company thus subscribed at par 
of $50, amounting to $ 20,000 

there were, in proportion (1 : 400) to this original subscription, 

$2,900,000 Niagara bonds at 90 per cent, amounting to 2,610,000 

Total cash subscription $2,630,000 

The bond subscriptions were payable when and as called for by The 
Cataract Construction Company, provided that (a) no call should be for 
more than 10 per cent; (b) at least one month should elapse between the first 
call and the second call; (c) at least eight months should elapse between the 
second call and the last call. Cataract stockholders had the privilege of sub- 
scribing for additional bonds at 90 per cent, whenever further sales were to 
be made by the cataract company. 

As the cataract company became entitled to receive bonds under its con- 
struction contract with the Niagara company, they were delivered to the 
bankers, George S. Bowdoin, of J. P. Morgan & Company; John Crosby 
Brown, of Brown Brothers & Company, and Charles Lanier, of Winslow, 
Lanier & Company, as a committee of subscribers who were empowered to 
hold, manage and sell the bonds for account of the subscribers. 

Scrip for bonds instead of cash might, at the option of the cataract com- 
pany be paid for interest accruing during construction upon any and all 
payments upon subscriptions. 

This plan of finance was so framed as to give every stockholder in the 
cataract company his proportionate share of all construction profits, and to 
the "money subscribers" such additional advantages as might accrue under the 
preferential right to subscribe for bonds at 90 per cent. 

The financial basis of syndicate subscription of January 17, 1890, for the 
inauguration of the Niagara water-power enterprise, was submitted to a 
meeting of subscribers, fully discussed, explained in detail by engineers 
present, and approved as the basis of the agreement of the above date for 
subscriptions of a total sum of $2,630,000 cash. 



It was estimated that this total fund of $2,630,000 cash and $393,000 in 
bonds to be used in acquiring land, would secure for the enterprise the fol- 
lowing described property and privileges : 

1. The franchise and entire capital stock of the Niagara company; 

2. The right-of-way for the tunnel, about 1 mile, under municipal, 

corporate and individual grants ; 

3. The main tunnel shafts, inlet-canal, ten wheel-pits, wheels and 

their cables for driving machines at the surface; 

4. 250 acres of valuable land, controlling 2 miles of the water- 

front, and appurtenant riparian rights, lying above the park 
reservation and between Niagara River and the New York 
Central Railroad, including 75 acres under water; 

5. About 1000 acres of other land suitable for building; 

6. The water-works supplying the village of Niagara Falls. 

These comprised a complete plant to produce hydraulically 20,000 horse- 
power. A product of 20,000 mechanical horse-power delivered, continu- 
ously, on the floor of the power-house, to a customer at $10 per horse- 
power per annum for twenty-four hours, would yield $200,000, which would 
provide five per cent interest per annum on $3,000,000 bonds, and leave 
$50,000 for use in paying an installment of sinking-fund on the bonds and 
current expenses in operation of the plant. 

When the agreement of January 17, 1890, between The Cataract Con- 
struction Company and the "money subscribers" was submitted to Darius 
O. Mills for his signature, he asked that he might sign for twice the amount 
he had requested, remarking that if he had been a younger man, he would 
have liked to take the entire amount for his own account. 

The following list comprises the names of the stockholders of the cataract 
company and of the subscribers to its first construction fund: 



Edward D. Adams 
Adams, Blodget & Co. 

John Bogart 
Geo. S. Bowdoin 
Dwight Braman 
Brown Bros. & Co. 
Wm. L. Bull 

Clarence Cary 
Eugene Cary 
J. F. Chamberlain 
Thomas P. Chaney 

John W. Aitkin 
Chas. W. Bangs 
Francis S. Bangs 

Chas. F. Clark 
C. H. Coster 

August Belmont & Co. 

George B. Burbank 




Chas. G. Curtiss 
Elizabeth S. Delano 
Chauncey M. Depew 
Henry W. Dodd 
Charles Fairehild 
John G. Floyd 
Chas. B. Gaskill 
Chas. W. Gould 
P. H. Griffin 
C. J. Hamlin 
Edmund Hayes 
John N. Herriman 
Clemens Herschel 
Chas. B. Hill 
Wm, H. Hill 
Charles Holt 
Mary A. B. Howe, 

Wm. S. Humberg 
Bray ton Ives 
Frederic B. Jennings 
Morris K. Jesup 
Walter Katte 


Geo. H. Kent 

Kuhn, Loeb & Co. 

Adolf Ladenburg 

Chas. Lanier 

Jos. Larocque 

John Howard Latham 

F. C. Lawrence, Jr. 

Lehman Bros. 

A. J. Forbes-Leith 

Arthur H. Masten 

John G. McCullough 

Darius O. Mills 

J. Pierpont Morgan 

Geo. A. Morrison 

Chas. McVeagh 

J. L. Norton 

Trenor L. Park 

H. K. Pomroy 

Albert H. Porter 

Alexander J. Porter 

Geo. M. Porter 

Wm. B. Rankine 

Spencer W. Richardson 

Edward L. Rogers 
Winthrop Rutherford 
John Satterfield 
John N. Scatcherd 
J. F. Schenck 
W. L. Scott 
Isaac N. Seligman 
Coleman Sellers 
Francis Lynde Stetson 
F. K. Sturgis 
Chas. A. Sweet 
Pascal L. Taylor 
Chas. E. Tracy 
H. McK. Twombly 
Henry C. Valentine 
W. K. Vanderbilt 
Van Emburg & Atterbury 
Horace White 
F. W. Whitridge 
Edward A. Wickes 
Mary F. Wickes 
Edward Winslow 
Winslow, Lanier & Co. 


Alexander Hargreaves Brown, London 

Ernest Cassel, London 

W. Brodrick Cloete, London 

Robert Fleming, Dundee 

Louis Ferdinand Floersheim, London 

Leon Gotz, Paris 

Hottinguer & Company, Paris 

C. C. MacRae, London 

F. Nettlefold, London 

Henry Oppenheim, London 

Francis Pavy, London 

Railway Share Trust Company, London 

Lord Rothschild, London 

Louis Schott, London 

Robert R. Symon, London 

Trustees, Executors & Securities 

Corporation, Ltd., London 
Theo. Turrettini, Geneva 

The total number of "money subscribers" was 103, including those of 
London and Paris. About half of the subscribers purchased one "block" 
only, representing $6575 cash, for one share of the cataract company and 
$7250 par value of bonds of the Niagara company, as already more particu- 
larly described. 

Additional bonds and stock, all of the Niagara company, were issued to the 
stockholders of The Cataract Construction Company upon their subscrip- 
tion therefor, at various dates and under various terms, as here described. 





Par Value 


5% Bonds 



1890, Jan'y 17 

No. 1 



1893, Feb'y 15 

No. 19 




1896, Dec. 15 

No. 36 




1898, Apr. 9 

No. 47 



1899, Sept. 30 

No. 49 








The total cash paid for the securities of The Niagara Falls Power Com- 
pany was equivalent to par ($100) per share, for the stock and about 69 

per cent for the five per cent bonds. „ ... , a . Is .^ onnn 

1 r Brought forward $6,458,300 

Under circular No. 16, of June 10, 1892, subscriptions were received at 

par for the Preferred Shares of the Development (land) Company and 

the Junction Railway Company, aggregating 561,200 

The stockholders of The Cataract Construction Company paid, in 1890, 

the par value of the 500 shares of capital stock of $50 each .... 25,000 

Thus, from 1890 to 1900, both inclusive, their subscriptions for bonds and 

shares as shown above amounted to $7,044,500 

for which they received (in addition to the Preferred Shares of the 

Development and the Junction Railway companies) the following 

securities of „ _ , _ . 

1st Mortgage Capital Cash 

Bonds Stock 

The Niagara Falls Power Company .... $7,196,000 $1,500,000 $ 
During the same period 1890-1900, interest on 

bonds, so subscribed for, was paid in bonds 

of The Niagara Falls Power Company at par 

to the extent of 1,386,000 

and there were distributions of construction 

profits, paid as dividends upon the shares of 

The Cataract Construction Company . . 250,000 1,800,000 264,750 

Upon liquidation of The Cataract Construction 
Company there was returned to the stock- 
holders in cash the $50 par value of their 

stock 25,000 

Total cash and securities of The Niagara Falls 
Power Company issued to stockholders of 
The Cataract Construction Company upon 
subscriptions, for bond interest, distribution 

of profits and reimbursement of capital stock $8,832,000 $3,300,000 $ 289,750 




On January 1, 1900, The Cataract Construction Company, after ten years 
of activity as the agent of The Niagara Falls Power Company, surrendered 
its representation, retired from business and went into liquidation, having 
finished its construction contracts and disbursed its profits to its stockholders. 1 

Thereafter the Niagara company availed of its credit then fully estab- 
lished, financed its own operations, and took over the management of its own 

The "money subscribers," as they were called, were mostly Americans. 
No public issue of shares or bonds was made either in this country or Europe, 
although representative foreign capitalists became interested, to a moderate 
amount, mainly through the subscriptions of their New York correspondents. 

The subscriptions were represented by the promoters of the enterprise as 
speculative investments. The financial risks were deliberately made com- 
paratively small in amount, $6575 cash for each participant. The venture 
was expected to be slow in developing. There were many uncertainties in- 
volved in the decisions to be made as to the systems and machinery to be 

The organization of capitalists and engineers became an association of 
adventurers and pioneers. The participants were advised to take only such 
small amounts as would maintain and stimulate their interest in the methods 
adopted in harnessing Niagara, but could not cause anxiety or serious regrets. 

The importance of the experiment was recognized. It was an interesting- 
problem; its solution would be important and historical. Its success would 
be of national interest and a source of gratification and pride to its venturers. 
Each financial participant might at least experience satisfaction as one of 
few who did much for many in thus developing the industrial resources and 
advancing the prosperity of this country. 


Not long after the formation of the syndicate of "money subscribers," 
President Adams of The Cataract Construction Company was in London 
seeking information regarding the most recently established power systems 
in Europe. Desiring an influential introduction and advice as to what engi- 
neering groups in England should primarily be consulted, he called, as had 
been his custom for many years when visiting "the City," upon Lord 
Rothschild, the international banker. President Adams explained the project 
for the utilization of Niagara Falls and the desire of the directors to be sure 
of their complete knowledge of the state of the arts they were likely to employ, 

1 Chapter XII. 



before adopting a definite plan, organizing a company and selecting its ex- 
ecutives to design, estimate and construct the undertaking. 

After suggesting names of experts and outlining their professional ex- 
periences and standing, Lord Rothschild gave a key introduction and 
remarked substantially as follows: 

"I suppose you are not ready with your financial plans?" 

"Yes," replied President Adams, "they have been adopted to a preliminary 
extent. We find the project very interesting; it has many problems; all 
previous efforts to utilize Niagara power in an important way have been 
failures, but we believe that science has so advanced that, with its skillful use, 
it may soon be possible to harness Niagara upon a commercial basis. We 
have resolved to engage in the experiment." 

"I presume," the English banker continued, "you will wish to discuss your 
financial plans?" 

"Not exactly, sir. We have not come for money, but for advice. Our im- 
mediate and contiguous requirements have been provided, and we wish to 
begin by investing in the counsel of your scientists and engineers." 

"Well," said Lord Rothschild, "this is something new, indeed. Rarely in 
my experience have foreign capitalists come to London to spend their own 
funds for information as to how to invest their own money in their own 
country. I should like a participation in your experiment and will gladly 
assist you in every possible way." 

It is noteworthy that from the original £5000 subscribed as a result of this 
interview, a considerable investment resulted from a proportionate participa- 
tion in subsequent subscriptions and that the securities were held intact for 
a long period. 


Among the important links in the chain of events that bound the adven- 
turers together, there follow here : 

1. Certificate of Syndicate Subscription issued under the Agree- 

ment of Money Subscribers of January 17, 1890; 

2. Circular No. 2 issued February 3, 1890, by The Cataract Con- 

struction Company to its stockholders, reporting progress; 

3. Circular 10a, being an extract from the Directors' Minutes of 

December 24, 1890, exercising option to pay interest on money 
subscription in bond scrip during construction; 

4. Certificate of First Mortgage Bond Interest Scrip. 



$5,000. No. 000 


New York, 

to February 1st, 1897. 




The bearer will be entitled to receive after payment of 

FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS, pursuant to the 

terms of subscription under circular No. 36 of December 15th, 1896, of this Company, 

$6,500. First Mortgage 5/c Bonds, 
bearing interest from January 1st, 1898, and 
$1,250. Capital Stock of 


The Capital Stock will be deliverable after payment of $2,500. and the Bonds after 
payment of the entire subscription of $5,000. and the surrender hereof at the office of 
this Company in the City of New York. 

All payments must be evidenced by the endorsement of this Company hereon. 

The Cataract Construction Company, 
Countersigned by by 

(Specimen) (Specimen) 
Secretary President 


Circular 2. Mills Building, 23 Broad Street, 

Room 24, Fourth Floor, 
Dear Sir: ^ ew Yokk ' February 3, 1890. 

You are hereby notified that under clause 1, of the subscription of January 17, 1890, 
this Company is prepared to issue to you shares of stock, upon receiving at the 

New York office of the Company (as above) your cheque to the order of George H. 
Kent, Treasurer, for fifty dollars a share, being in all $ 

There is herewith enclosed, strictly for your personal use, (1) a copy of the Syndi- 
cate Subscription of January 17, 1890, and (2) a copy of the Statement of the Financial 
basis of that subscription. 

To avoid confusion it is proper to state that these two papers constitute and comprise 
the exclusive foundation for subscription, the green pamphlet of 1886 and the "Memo- 
randum" printed (though never officially issued) in the summer of 1889 having been 



superseded and withdrawn in view of the proceedings at the subscribers' meeting, January 
14, 1890. At that meeting Dr. Sellers reiterated his approval (since confirmed by the 
Hydraulic Engineer, Clemens Herschel, Esq.), of the agreement of December 30, 1890, 
granting a right of way under the Hydraulic Canal defeasible only in case of unremedied 
damage to the canal, or failure to deliver the $15,000 in bonds (provided for in the finan- 
cial statement). 

The promised agreement for right of way under the Central Railroad tracks is still 
under consideration for the purpose of embracing a number of collateral stipulations 
mutually advantageous. 

The time for executing the formal contract with the Niagara Company has, at the 
request of this Company, been extended to April 1, 1890, so as to permit careful formu- 
lation of plans. At that time it is proposed to put the existing land contracts for the 
original 229 acres into the form of deeds with mortgages back. In cases where immediate 
possession is necessary, cash will have to be paid in whole or in part. In this way it is 
believed that every interest in the plan as originally proposed is adequately secured. 

As to the additional lands authorized to be acquired at the meeting of January 14, 
1890, the Company is proceeding with rapidity and gratifying success in purchases 
within the specified limit. The first payments are being made from a sum ($60,000) 
advanced by Mr. Adams, who, after consultation before sailing, advised that all steps 
be taken for securing these various interests and for establishing the enterprise without 
waiting for further subscriptions. In the opinion of some subscribers further subscrip- 
tions should be postponed so as to give present subscribers an opportunity to increase. 

A meeting of the subscribers, for the purpose of completing organization, choosing a 
Committee of Three, and for any other business, will be held at the New York office of 
the Company, Room 2Jf, Fourth Floor, Mills Building, at 3 o'clock P. M., on Thursday, 
6th February, 1890. WILLIAM B. RANKINE, 


Circular 10 a. 


Whereas, In the subscription agreement of January 17, 1890, by the form of certifi- 
cate therein set forth as well as by the financial basis dated 23d January, 1890, it was 
provided that scrip or bonds might, at the option of Cataract Company, be paid for 
interest accruing during construction upon any and all payments upon subscriptions to 
such agreement ; and 

Whereas, At a meeting of the money subscribers held Februar} 7 6, 1890, it was voted 
that for all purposes of the agreement of January 17, 1890, assent in behalf of the 
money subscribers might be given by the regular action of the Board of Directors of 
this Company, which resolution was duly notified to all parties in interest by circulars 
3 and 3a ; now therefore be it 

Resolved, That the Cataract Company hereby exercises its said option, and hereby 
declares and decides to pay interest during construction by the issue of scrip certificates, 
substantially in the form of that hereunto annexed, redeemable in bonds as therein 



Resolved, That in case any coupons upon any bonds held by the Committee under 
Clause 5 of the agreement of January 17, 1890, shall mature before the completion of 
the first section of the works of the Niagara Company, the Committee shall be and it is 
hereby authorized and directed to detach such coupons, and to deliver or dispose of such 
bond without such coupons, which with all other coupons of the same maturity shall be 
held by such Committee until the interest thereby represented shall have been duly 
adjusted, by the issue and redemption of scrip certificates as herein provided ; and in case 
of bonds without coupons the interest before completion shall be similarly paid and 
adjusted, and the committee shall suitably inscribe such bonds accordingly. 

Resolved, That a copy of these resolutions be forthwith communicated to each money 




FOR $ 





a subscriber to a certain agreement with The Cataract Construction Company, bearing 
date January 17, 1890, or the transferee hereof, will be entitled, subject to the terms of 
said agreement, to receive from the Committee under Clause 5 of said agreement, at the 
time and in the manner therein provided for the delivery of bonds, or proceeds of bonds, 
the sum of 


without interest thereon, in First Mortgage Bonds of The Niagara Falls Power Com- 
pany, or the proceeds of such bonds ; provided that no such b.onds or proceeds shall be 
deliverable on account hereof, except upon surrender to the Committee of scrip cer- 
tificates of this tenor, in aggregate amount equal to the par value of such bond. 

This Scrip Certificate is issued and received on account of interest accruing up to 
1st, 189 , under and upon the payments heretofore endorsed upon Subscription 
Certificate No. and shall, when redeemed without interest, as herein provided, 

be in full satisfaction of all claims for such interest to the extent above certified. All 
transfers hereof, before taking effect, must be registered by the Company. 

In Witness Whereof, The Cataract Construction Company, has caused this 
Scrip Certificate to be signed and delivered, by its President (or Vice-President) 
and its Treasurer, and to be duly registered, this 1st day of , 189 . 






The basic features of this enterprise were experimental and practically all 
were involved in the installation and operation of three units of 5000 horse- 
power each in the sections of the Power-house and Wheel-pit Slot Number 
One first constructed. This installation was a demonstration, and its resulting 
actual income and that prospective from contracts assured, when made public, 
announced to the world that the Niagara problem had been commercially 


Circular No. 36 of The Cataract Construction Company, issued December 
15, 1896, stated that "the works of The Niagara Falls Power Company are 
so far completed that delivery of power to customers in Buffalo has been 
successfully instituted, and that the calls for power under contracts actually 
executed (and in excess of the present capacity of the works) will provide 
annual rentals of $365,975, and, under contracts in negotiation, $72,250 more, 
or a total of $438,225," much more than previously estimated. 

The circular further stated that 

since work has begun in 1890, no interest in The Cataract Construction Company is 
known to have been sold for less than par ; notwithstanding the occurrence of at least 
four financial crises in the principal money markets of the country, and other influences 
deterring the establishment of many new industries requiring power. Considering these 
general and well-known adverse conditions, coincident almost with its life, the wonder 
is that this company has so steadily progressed, and, as above indicated, has almost 
reached the point of self-support. Under such conditions, and in view of the necessarily 
experimental character of the work, it would have been folly at any earlier date to 
seek to provide for an installation larger than necessary to demonstrate that this 
enterprise can accomplish real work and promise real profits, such as can now be ex- 
pected after January 1, 1898. 

To complete the power-house and wheel-pit slot for the ten units of a total 
50,000 horse-power, involved an estimated additional expenditure of $2,000,- 
000, and this program was announced as follows : 

The proposed extension involves doubling the present capacity of the transmission 
line to Buffalo which is now delivering 1000 electrical horse-power; the extension of the 
wheel-pit for its full length, so as to have capacity in all for ten 5000 horse-power 
turbines and dynamos ; the installation of seven 5000 horse-power turbines and dynamos, 
in addition to the three now in operation; and the extension of the power-house to 
cover the new installation. 

Such an extension of the wheel-pit is about one-third completed ; the right-of-way 
from Niagara Falls to Buffalo is completed, the pole-line already erected has a pole 
and cross-arm capacity of 20,000 electrical horse-power, with copper conductors in 
place for 5000 electrical horse-power. Upon definite proposals already received, the 



entire installation above described can be progressive!}' completed before April 1, 1898, 
with the proceeds of the subscription of $2,000,000 now invited, and already largely 

This subscription for bonds and stock of The Niagara Falls Power Com- 
pany was divided into blocks of $5000 each, for $6500 par value of first 
mortgage five per cent bonds and $1250 par value of capital stock. This was 
the last subscription for the combined securities offered by The Cataract 
Construction Company. 

Circular No. 47 of April 9, 1898, offered $418,000, and Circular No. 49, of 
September 30, 1899, offered $278,000 of bonds, in both instances at 90 per 
cent of their par value and accrued interest. 


After the conclusion of the construction of its principal works, undertaken, 
financed and completed by The Cataract Construction Company, in 1899, 
when it surrendered its agency and ceased its activities, the financial negotia- 
tions of The Niagara Falls Power Company commenced with the issue of its 
Circular No. 50 of November 16, 1899, in which the progress of the enterprise 
may be seen by its statement that 

the limit of the present power-house and the present wheel-pit upon the west side of the 
canal has been reached, and additional turbines and dynamos can be established only 
by the construction of an additional wheel-pit and an additional power-house, for which 
a site upon the east side of the inlet-canal, approved by the professional advisers of 
the company, has been adopted by the board of directors. 

In anticipation of this demand for power, the supply of water by the inlet- 
canal, and its discharge by the outlet tunnel had been originally constructed 
with a capacity of 100,000 horse-power. 


The plan on the next page prepared in 1892 indicates two power-houses of 
50,000 horse-power each, one on the east side of the inlet-canal for hydro- 
electric, and the other on the west side for hydro-pneumatic development. By 
1899, however, the electric system operated from Power-house Number 
One had fully proved its reliability and advantages, while the pneumatic 
method had nowhere fulfilled its early promises. The Niagara Falls Power 
Company announced its unreserved commitment to hydro-electric methods 
for the development of the 200,000 effective horse-power that it was author- 
ized to utilize from the waters of the Niagara River. 

The improving credit of the company prompted the directors to reserve 
its mortgage securities as a future resource in event of need, and to create 
an issue of $3,000,000 six per cent, ten-year convertible debenture bonds, 



without special pledge of property or mortgage lien with the right in the 
holder, at his pleasure on any interest day, on or before April 1, 1905, to 
convert the same at par into the capital stock of The Niagara Falls Power 
Company at par. 

Subscriptions were invited for the purchase of $2,100,000 at par and accrued 
interest, leaving $900,000 for subsequent issue as required. It was directed 

Location of Inlet-canal and Power-houses 

that the construction of the second wheel-pit should be that eventually to be 
required for eleven turbines and dynamos, of which six units should be 
ordered then, leaving five for later installation. 

By its circular No. 56 of June 25, 1901, The Niagara Falls Power Company 
informed its stockholders that the construction of the wheel-pit of the addi- 
tional power-house upon the east side of the canal, authorized in November, 



1899, had progressed so that the six dynamos would be in operation by March, 
1902, in anticipation of which a considerable portion of their power had 
already been contracted for upon remunerative terms. Convinced of further 
demands for considerable power for increased use by present tenants and by 
the new chemical and metallurgical industries, the directors urged immediate 
preparation for the development of power by the Canadian Niagara Power 
Company, of which The Niagara Falls Power Company owned the entire 
capital stock except the qualifying shares of the directors. 


The Canadian company was authorized to create and utilize power within 
the Queen Victoria Niagara Falls Park, and to transmit the same without 
the park, with authority to construct and operate works necessary and use- 
ful in connection with the business of The Niagara Falls Power Company. 

The company's circular further stated : 

The Canadian company has authority to take its lines or conductors across the 
bridges over the Niagara River, and the power developed by it may be used as a reserve 
and also as an addition to the power developed upon the American side by the connection 
of the power-houses on the two sides of the river, providing each user of power from 
either power-house the protection of reserve power from the other power-house. 

The accepted and final plans of the Canadian company provided for "the 
construction of the main tunnel with capacity of not less than 100,000 horse- 
power; an intake-canal with the capacity of 50,000 horse-power; and a 
wheel-pit with present capacity for 25,000 horse-power of hydraulic and 
electrical machinery. The estimates of the engineers indicate that $2,700,000 
will be sufficient to cover the cost of such works, including a power-house, 
generating and transforming machinery sufficient to enable the company 
to supply 20,000 electrical horse-power for transmission without the Park, 
and also including interest during the period of construction, estimate to 
take two years." 

In order to provide the necessary capital, an additional issue of ten-year 
six per cent convertible debenture bonds was authorized by The Niagara 
Falls Power Company, to be secured by the same amount of debentures to 
be issued by the Canadian Niagara Power Company, under a first mortgage 
covering all its property in the Queen Victoria Niagara Falls Park. 

Subscriptions to $2,700,000 of such secured debentures at par and accrued 
interest were invited from the stockholders. 

On February 14, 1903, The Niagara Falls Power Company announced 
to its stockholders by its Circular No. 62 that the first six units of 5000 
horse-power each, previously authorized, had been installed in wheel-pit and 



Power-house Number Two, built for eleven units and contracts had been 
authorized and let for the other five units of 5000 horse-power each. 

To provide funds for the completion of this second installation in Power- 
house Number Two, and other works authorized, subscriptions were invited 
for the purchase of $800,000 of the six per cent ten-year convertible deben- 
tures, due April 1, 1910, at the price of par and interest. 

Soon after the construction of the Canadian plant commenced, there were 
such demands for power that the construction program was enlarged, and on 
December 10, 1904, Circular No. 68 was issued to the stockholders of The 
Niagara Falls Power Company, stating that the $2,700,000 provided under 
Circular No. 56 had been expended in the construction of: 

a main tunnel, completed, with a capacity of 110,000 horse-power; 

an intake-canal, completed, with a capacity of 110,000 horse-power; 

a wheel-pit slot, completed, with a present capacity of 50,000 horse- 
power ; 

an extension, under construction, with capacity of 60,000 horse- 
power additional; and 

a power-house, completed, with generating units being installed 
that would supply 50,000 horse-power. 

Fully to provide for the estimated cost to complete the works of enlarged 
capacity, the stockholders were invited to subscribe, at 95 per cent and accrued 
interest, to an additional issue of six per cent debentures of The Niagara 
Falls Power Company, to the extent of $2,000,000, secured by a like amount 
of Canadian debentures, to be issued under the first mortgage upon the 
property of the Canadian company. These debentures were payable Novem- 
ber 1, 1914, and subject to redemption, at the option of the company, after 
October 1, 1911, but they were not convertible similar to the previous issue, 
into the capital stock of The Niagara Falls Power Company, and were 
specially designated as "Series B." 

After the lapse of more than two years, Circular No. 69, dated January 12, 
1907, was issued by The Niagara Falls Power Company, inviting the stock- 
holders to subscribe, at the price of 90 per cent and accrued interest, to 
$1,500,000 of its six per cent debentures, payable November 1, 1914, but 
redeemable October 1, 1911. This issue was known as "Series C" and was 
secured by a like amount of debentures of the Canadian company that were 
issued under a lien upon all its power-plant rights in the Queen Victoria 
Niagara Falls Park, franchises, power transmission lines, and other property 
then owned or thereafter acquired for its corporate purposes, and necessary 



or useful in the development, transmission, distribution or delivery by it of the 
electrical power generated in its plant, subject only to the prior lien of the 
mortgage of October 1, 1901, securing the issue of $5,000,000 Canadian 
company debentures (Series A and Series B) . 


The Niagara company announced at this time that the construction of 
Power-house Number Three, commenced in Canada, December, 1904, had 
been completed, that there were in operation five power units of 10,000 horse- 
power each, and the head works, wheel-pit slots and tunnel, then completed, 
had a capacity for service of an aggregate of eleven similar units. 

It was also stated that a 32-duct conduit from the Canadian power-house 
was then connected at the international boundary, Niagara Falls, New York, 
with a similar conduit extending to a connection with cables installed in the 
American plant, for the transmission of 32,000 horse-power; and that two 
overhead power transmission circuits had been constructed along a private 
right-of-way acquired by the Canadian company extending from its power- 
plant at Niagara Falls, Canada, along the Canadian side of Niagara River to 
Fort Erie, opposite Buffalo, New York, cables being extended thence to a 
terminal station of the Cataract Power and Conduit Company in the city of 
Buffalo. About 12,000 horse-power, it was stated, were then being delivered 
from this transmission line regularly for use in Buffalo, and it was proposed, 
at an early date, to supply 25,000 horse-power from these circuits to Buffalo, 
thus allowing the American plant to enlarge its services in its adjacent 
territory of Niagara Falls and Tonawanda. The pre-emption by other Cana- 
dian power companies of sites available for manufacturers at Niagara Falls, 
Canada, had made it necessary for the American and Canadian Niagara 
companies to purchase a considerable amount of real estate on the Canadian 


At a meeting of the stockholders of The Niagara Falls Power Company, 
June 1, 1909, the execution was authorized of a "Refunding and General 
Mortgage" to secure an ultimate issue of $20,000,000 six per cent bonds, 
to become payable January 1, 1932. The principal purpose of this issue was 
the timely provision to meet the payment at maturity in 1910 and 1911 of 
$6,000,000 of the company's debentures, as well as all the other bonded 
obligations maturing in no distant periods thereafter. 

On February 26, 1910, an offer was made to retire the six per cent deben- 
tures of The Niagara Falls Power Company of the several issues, aggregating 



a total of $9,076,000, by an even exchange for the new refunding and general 
mortgage six per cent bonds, due January 1, 1932. During that year, 
$7,542,000 six per cent debentures of The Niagara Falls Power Company 
were refunded, as proposed, and in the following year the remainder were 
provided for by a sale of the company's capital stock at par, the company 
having availed of its option, reserved in the original issue, to redeem the 
debentures prior to maturity. 

Circular No. 75, of May 11, 1910, offered to the stockholders $686,000 of 
the company's six per cent refunding and general mortgage bonds at par 
and accrued interest, to pay for additions and improvements to the plants of 
The Niagara Falls Power Company and the Canadian Power company. 


An issue of $1,534,000 par value of the capital stock was authorized in 
March, 1911, and subscribed for at par in cash by the stockholders of The 
Niagara Falls Power Company, by the terms of its Circular No. 77, for the 
express purpose of retiring that amount of debentures (Series A, B and C, 
Canadian collateral), called for redemption under the terms reserved to the 
company, prior to their maturity. 

During the year 1911, the entire capital stock, 2500 shares ($250,000 par 
value) of the Tonawanda Power Company, was acquired in an even exchange 
for the shares of The Niagara Falls Power Company. 



Under date of June 1, 1915, the ownership of 10,050 shares ($1,005,000 par 
value of a total $2,000,000) of the capital stock of the Cataract Power and 
Conduit Company, of Buffalo, was sold by The Niagara Falls Power Company ' 
to the Buffalo General Electric Company at 141 per cent, payable in cash 
and its first refunding five per cent bonds, due 1939, at par and interest. 
The bonds were sold by the power company at 95 and interest, and the 
total net proceeds, $1,501,419, added to the funds of the company, held by 
trustees as part security for its bonds and available under the terms of the 
mortgages securing the bonds for construction purposes and property ac- 
quisitions. These shares were those of the company organized in 1896, to 
receive and distribute Niagara power in Buffalo, in which a majority interest 
had been retained by The Niagara Falls Power Company. 

A policy similar to that established in Buffalo was pursued for the distribu- 
tion of Niagara electric power from the Buffalo transmission line, as it 



passed through North Tonawanda, Tonawanda and Wheatfield, from which 
towns licenses had been obtained therefor. 

A company was formed under the name of Tonawanda Power Company, 
with an authorized capital stock of $250,000. Several contracts for power 
were awaiting action, and the necessary machinery for a transforming and 
distributing station for current and switching services were promptly in- 
stalled. In August, 19I7, 1 all of this capital stock was sold at $175 per share 
to local interests at Tonawanda, and $437,500 cash was paid to The Niagara 
Falls Power Company for its $250,000 par value, constituting all of the 
capital stock of the Tonawanda company. 


As already shown, cash capital was provided through the sale of bonds 
and shares of The Niagara Falls Power Company, by The Cataract Con- 
struction Company, during the formative and construction period, when it 
was responsible for the plans and liabilities of the enterprise. Upon the 
completion of the construction undertaken by the cataract company, and its 
retirement from its representation in 1900, the financial responsibility came 
solely upon the management of The Niagara Falls Power Company until 
1918, when its control was acquired by the consolidated company, The Ni- 
agara Falls Power Company, mcmxviii. 

The following summary of financial negotiations by The Niagara Falls 
Power Company indicates its financial policy, the sujDport of its stock- 
holders during a period of commercial crises, and the gradual improvement 
in its credit by establishing confidence in the method that had been adopted 
through the demonstration, in the operation of its works, of its reliability 
and profitableness. 

1 See Circular No. 84 of The Niagara Falls Power Company for the year 1917, Appendix D, Volume I. 





The Niagara Falls Power Company 




6% Bonds 



1899, Nov. 16 


100 & Int. 





1901, June 25 


100 " 



Series A 

1903, Feb. 14 


100 " 




1904, Dec. 10 


95 " 



Series B 

1907, Jan. 12 


90 " 



Series C 

1910, May 11 


100 " 



Ref. Gen. Mtg. 

1911, Mar. 27 






Par Value 



Total Cash 


Debentures redeemed $9,076,000 

1, By Refunding and General Mortgage 6$ 

Bonds, issued in exchange at par .... $7,540,000 

2. By Cash Payments 1,536,000 $9,076,000 



The total amount of cash for construction purposes, raised from organiza- 
tion in 1889 to consolidation in 1918, amounted to $20,270,820, and was 
provided as follows : 

The Cataract Construction Company 

Offered Its Stockholders for Subscription Cash Proceeds 

Capital Stock $ 25,000 
Securities Sold 

The Niagara Falls Power Company 

Bonds 6,458,300 

Niagara Junction Railway Company 

Preferred Stock 140,000 

Niagara Development Company 

Preferred Stock 421,200 

$ 7,044,500 

The Niagara Falls Power Company 

Offered Its Stockholders for Subscription 

Securities Sold 

Bonds and Shares of Power 

Company $11,087,400 
Shares of Power Company 200,000 
Stock of Tonawanda Power 

Company 437,500 

Stock of Cataract Power and 
Conduit Company of 

Buffalo 1,501,420 13,226,320 
Total Cash Provided $20,270,820 

During this period The Cataract Construction Company provided the 
necessary funds for its work, and distributed its construction profits as divi- 
dends to its stockholders in cash and bonds and shares of The Niagara Falls 
Power Company. 

The Niagara Falls Power Company commenced the payment of cash 
dividends upon its capital stock, as outstanding from time to time, at the 
rate of eight per cent per annum by the declaration of a distribution of profits 
in April, 1910, at the rate of two per cent quarterly, that was continued 
without interruption until the consolidation of the companies in the autumn 
of 1918, when an extra dividend of three per cent was paid, the capital re- 
arranged and the management changed. There were thirty-six dividends 
paid in cash from April, 1910, to October, 1918, a total amount of $4,047,101. 




The consolidation of The Niagara Falls Power Company with the Cliff 
Electrical Distributing Company and the Hydraulic Power Company of 
Niagara Falls, carried out by The Niagara Falls Power Company and the 
Hydraulic Power Company of Niagara Falls, was contracted by all parties 
in interest under date of September 20, 1918, the consolidated company re- 
ceiving the title of The Niagara Falls Power Company. 

The advent of the Schoellkopf interest in the ownership and management 
of the consolidated company, brought to a conclusion the financing of the 
enterprise, commenced in 1889 by The Cataract Construction Company and 
carried out by The Niagara Falls Power Company from 1900 to the con- 
solidation of 1918. 

The exchange of shares of The Niagara Falls Power Company for those 
of the consolidated company was accompanied by the delivery to the latter 
of the cash, current assets and investments of The Niagara Falls Power 
Company and its filial organizations, amounting as of September 30, 1918, 
after providing for all current liabilities, to $5,583,592, comprising its surplus, 
unimpaired reserves and undivided profits, being $3,551,800 cash and cash 
assets, $1,774,552 in bonds of the United States Government, and $257,240 
in Victory Loan of the Dominion of Canada. 


In financing the Niagara enterprise it was foreseen that incredulity would 
be an obstacle to credit, because the methods to be used would be those of 
pioneers, and the history of attempts to develop Niagara power had been 
largely a record of failures. Complete financial provision was therefore made 
at the beginning of the undertaking so that no public appeal for money would 
have to be made, if at all, until after the Niagara company had established 
its credit by net profits in the operation of its plant. Its stockholders had 
been carefully selected because of their confidence in the organization and 
their financial strength to carry their share of the adventure through to its 


Bankers in Buffalo naturally traded in such securities as were obtainable 
from original subscribers, and in creating their markets gave such information 
as they could gather, but this was restricted by the policy of the cataract 
company to announce officially only the fait accompli. The magnitude of the 
enterprise, the novelty of the methods of development, and the dangers to 
life and fortune, engendered grave doubts that appealed to prudence when 



opportunities were presented of sharing the financial risks of the original 

Each visitor, of the many tourists at the falls, judged of the enterprise 
according to his own experience, which in comparison with what could be 
learned of the new project, created distrust of the unseen and doubt of the 

The following correspondence indicates this attitude of some of the public 
during construction. 

A dealer in local investment securities, in Buffalo, wrote in March, 1893, 
asking for information about the Niagara project, stating that "Not only 
people here, but in many parts of the country, are taking great interest in 
your project, and I receive many letters regarding it." 

An investor in a neighboring city wrote, in answer to an offer of securities 
of The Niagara Falls Power Company: 

I confess I cannot quite understand the strong statements made by the experts and 
printed matter. Is it not true that no such enterprise was ever undertaken before and 
there is no precedent for what is being undertaken? 

Is it not true that there is uncertainty as to the effect of sending vast bodies of water 
down a stand-pipe with a perpendicular fall of 120 feet? 

Is it clear that the turbine wheels can stand it and construction stand the continuous 

Is there not danger of breakage, accident, etc., that might seriously interfere with 
the project and profit? 

I confess although everything seems favorable, the enterprise will appear to be quite 
hazardous, at once calling for a very great margin of profit as inducement. 

If I am not right you can correct me ; but I have never heard or read before of any 
such scheme, or of any such turbine wheels to be used. I should be pleased to know what 
certainty there is about the business. 

The answer, in part, was, "We expect these wheels, each of 5000 horse- 
power, will be creating a revolution at Niagara during the coming summer." 


The union or consolidation of the interests, representing both property and 
management, is indicated on the first certificate 1 of the preferred stock issued 
by the new company, in the design of its seal, being that of the old company 
with the year of consolidation subjacent, as the Niagara falls power com- 
pany mcmxviii. Moreover, the decorative border of the engraved certificate 
was copied from the MacMonnies seal, in which was represented the maski- 
nonge (Esox nobilior) and the Delthyris niagarensis in the design, and in the 
center of each alternate fossil shell on the sides of the certificate, and in its 
center under the word "Company," may be read the initials of the names that 

1 See page 310. 



represent the founders of the original companies, all of whose construction 
is now brought within the ownership of the new and single company and under 
the management of the second and third generations of the Schoellkopf 
pioneers in the harnessing of the Niagara River. 

These designs have been introduced in the new certificates by the direction 
of the officers of the consolidated companies, and are reproduced here as an 
acknowledgment on behalf of the surviving associates of the courtesy thus 
shown to their predecessors by those who now direct the affairs of this im- 
portant and growing enterprise. 

• d& m ^ m^^^ mts^s^ 

J. F. S. 

F. L. S. 
E. D. A. 
W. B. R. 
E. A. W. 
T. E. 
W. C. E. 
C. B. G. 
A. P. 

H. H. D. 
W. D. O. 

G. B. M. 
A. S. 

'Jacob F. Schoellkopf, President. 

Francis Lynde Stetson, Director of The Niagara Falls Power Company. 

Edward D. Adams, Director of The Niagara Falls Power Company. 

Wm. B. Rankine, Director of The Niagara Falls Power Company. 

Edward A. Wickes, Director of The Niagara Falls Power Company. 
"Thomas Evershed, Engineer. 
2 W. Caryl Ely, Counsel. 
"Charles B. Gaskill, President. 
'Augustus Porter. 
'Horace H. Day. 

W. D. Olmsted. 
5 George B. Mathews. 

'Arthur Schoellkopf, Vice-president and General Manager. 

1 The Niagara Falls Hydraulic Power and Manufacturing' Company, 1877. 

2 Engineer, Niagara River Hydraulic Tunnel, Power and Sewer Company, 1886. 

3 Porter, Barton & Company, 1805, portage lessees. 

4 Acquired the hydraulic canal and spent a large fortune upon it, but it was eventually sold under fore- 
closure and he is said to have lost his entire fortune. 

5 Close associate of Jacob F. Schoellkopf in the hydraulic canal enterprise, and was the first president 
of the reorganized hydraulic power company. He retired from active interest in the power company 
several years ago, and now, 1926, lives in Buffalo. 


The history of the Niagara Falls power-plant is a 
demonstration of the ability of applied electrical engi- 
neering science to attain in commercial practise re- 
sults predicated in large degree upon theory. In a 
most striking manner, it exhibits the fact that for 
nearly a decade electrical engineering has been estab- 
lished upon a basis as certain and permanent as other 
branches of engineering ; that eight years ago — a long 
time in our profession — it was possible to so plan an 
electrical installation involving ultimately the trans- 
mission and distribution of several hundred thousands 
of horse-power that at the present time we can effect 
improvement only with respect to relatively unim- 
portant details, the aggregate results of which, if 
adopted, would be hardly noticeable as affecting the 
cost of power. 

From Paper Presented by Lewis B. Stillweix 
to the American Institute of Electrical 
Engineers, August 23, 1901 




Chapter XV 

Property Holdings op The Niagara Falls Power Company and Its Filial Companies before the Consolidation of 1918 

Property Holdings 
of the Niagara Companies 






THE question of how much land should be acquired to provide for the use 
of power at Niagara was seriously considered in the early period of the 
study of the general problem of its development and utilization. 

It was evident that as there was comparatively little land readily available 
near the angle of the land on the banks of the river where it would be most 
desired on account of economy of construction, the price would advance 
rapidly upon the announcement or even upon the rumor that capital had been 
obtained for the enterprise and the "Niagara Problem" would be solved. 

Although with charter 1 power to take an unlimited quantity of river water, 
it was recognized that the use of power might be restricted because of such 
high prices for sufficient land to provide the proposed mill-sites and inlet- 
canals, that the initial project could not be readily financed. 

Furthermore, the purchase of cheaper land upon the banks of the river 
above the falls would necessitate larger expenditures in inlet-canal and dis- 
charge tunnel construction in carrying out the Evershed plan of locating a 
water-wheel at each mill. 

Although ample lands, unoccupied and much lower in price, were readily 
available for use and could be favorably acquired in the level farming acreage 
north and east of the river within several miles of the village of Niagara Falls, 
such location would involve miles of rock excavations for water-inlet and 
outlet in the wheel-pit system then customary in factory construction, and 
the costs thereof would be impracticable if not impossible to finance. 

As the Evershed hydraulic system comprising discharge tunnels, and many 
inlet-canals and wheel-pits in such a location must necessarily be entirely built 
in its major parts, before any power could be commercially developed, this 
location was not to be considered unless an economical system of power trans- 
mission by wire, cable or pipe could be used. 

As such innovations upon long established practise could not be clearly 
foreseen, although then considered by some scientists as theoretically possible, 
it was determined to adopt a plan by which the least amount of capital would 

1 Subsequently limited to 200,000 horse-power. 



be required to construct a complete hydraulic system, from the water above 
the falls to the water below the falls, and while this work, requiring much 
time, was in progress, to investigate at home and abroad the subject of de- 
velopment and distribution, the directors, being convinced that the power 
possibilities made available by such system could be made productive by one 
of several methods of distribution then in use or in anticipation. Hence the 
question whether power could be transmitted and distributed by compressed 
air or electricity or otherwise was the fundamental question. It involved not 
only the plans for the hydraulic development and the machinery to be pur- 
chased but it was the determining factor in the amount and location of the land 
for which provision should be made before the project was even made public. 


The hydraulic engineer of the company advised the purchase of additional 
land and gave his experience with New England and other manufacturers, 
stating that water-power promoters seldom acquired, at the inception of their 
enterprises, sufficient land when cheaply available, and generally paid dearly 
for their lack of foresight when their undertakings developed needs of greater 
area than could then be readily acquired or paid for. 

While the questions involved in the development of 100,000 horse-power 
were being considered, an examination was made of the water-powers in New 
England to learn about what area of land would probably be required for 
manufactories and dwellings, according to the experience at such localities, 
for the utilization of the quantity of power it was proposed to develop at 
Niagara. Consideration was also given to the dwellings required for the 
operatives likely to be brought to Niagara to be employed in the use of this 

The following examples of special conditions were selected for guidance 
in this problem: 

The Essex Company, at Lawrence, Massachusetts, commenced its opera- 
tions with 2000 acres of land for canals, mill-sites, house lots and streets, and 
about 10,000 horse-power during the whole 24-hour day. This would be the 
equivalent per 1000 horse-power of about 200 acres, of which at least 130 
acres would be required for building purposes. 

The Hadley Falls Company, at Holyoke, Massachusetts, started with the 
equivalent of 128 acres in gross per 1000 horse-power used for 24 hours daily. 
Of the land about 85 acres were available for building purposes. Mill-sites 
required, it was stated, from 2% to 10 acres per 1000 horse-power used upon 
the premises, varying, of course, with the class of work undertaken. 



The average requirement at Essex and Hadley Falls is approximately 165 
acres for 1000 horse-power. On this basis the land necessary for 120,000 horse- 
power is about 20,000 acres or 30 square miles. It may be observed that the 
ultimate requirements at Niagara Falls were far less than this, due to the 
change from the old method of driving the mill machinery directly, by water- 
wheels, to the new electrical method by which power is transmitted to distant 
places. Many of the electro-chemical processes utilizing electric power require 
much less space in proportion to the power used than is necessary for driving 

By the census of 1880, it appeared that there were 2,732,595 operatives in 
manufacturing establishments in this country, using prime movers of steam 
and water to the total amount of 3,410,837 horse-power, being 1.24 horse- 
power per employee, equivalent to nearly 100,000 employees for the use of 
120,000 horse-power. 

The census also showed that in eight representative power-using industries, 
there was an average of 3.92 horse-power used for each worker employed, 
ranging from 13.20 horse-power per worker in flour and grist-mills, to 0.87 
horse-power per worker upon worsted goods. 

If 120,000 horse-power were to be used, it would require, on the basis of 
3.92 horse-power per worker employed, 25,000 workers. On the basis of 13.20 
horse-power per worker, 7500 employees would be necessary. 

The power employed in 1889 at St. Anthony's Falls, Minnesota, a water- 
power development in several industries suitable for Niagara, was as follows: 

per Hand Employed 

Flouring and Grist-Mill Products 13.20 

Lumber Mills 5.56 

Paper 5.07 

Allowing 12 horse-power per employee, it appeared that provision should be made 
for living conditions for 10,000 employees at Niagara, according to the established 
usage of a mill over its wheel-pit. Such an increase of population would require 
provision on a similar scale for dwellings, potable water, sewerage, light, fuel and 

Dwellings and homes for men working at the falls were scarce and difficult 
to procure, and the demand for houses for mechanics and others who desired 
to locate there was increasing daily. 

Niagara Falls at that period, 1890, had a population of about 10,000. 

Similar estimates from other industrial centers of production, per worker 
and per horse-power, showed clearly that provision should be made for railway 



yards, sidings and connections with the two principal American trunk lines 
entering the Niagara manufacturing district. 

From a forecast of the situation at Niagara Falls, as these essential needs 
developed from the construction of the first section of the proposed hydraulic 
system for 20,000 horse-power available for distribution, it was evident that 
real estate and rents would have a rapid and important advance. The com- 
pany's expenditures would enhance the market value as well as the taxable 
value of real estate, including its own holdings. Therefore the company should 
increase its land ownership without delay, and such purchases should be made 
only as would jjrovide for conveniently located dwellings for some of its 
officers and employees, and for the construction of a standard-gauge junction 
and terminal railroad, in addition to what land was necessary for the power- 
plant proposed. 

Because of the uncertainty as to the system of power transmission that 
would be adopted, ranging from a hydraulic turbine and shaft in a wheel-pit, 
to belts, cables, and water, air and electricity under pressure, great modera- 
tion was exercised in providing for the anticipated requirements of industries 
to be established. 

It was evident that should electric transmission of power become practi- 
cable, then much less land would be required than otherwise, because the 
power could be delivered to customers wherever located for use upon their 
own property. 


The company purchased altogether 1580 acres of nearly level land, ex- 
tending from its canal site above the falls, about two miles up the river 
along its bank, and stretching at right angles across the tracks and rights-of- 
way of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad, New York, 
Lake Erie and Western Railroad, and Buffalo, Thousand Islands and Port- 
land Railroad (projected) about SYz miles to Fletcher's Corners on the 
Lockport Branch of the New York Central Railroad. A new residential 
village was contemplated in the angle of the land location, and a Junction 
Railway was proposed on the company's property between the trunk line 
railways, as shown on map on page 331. 

If the Evershed plan of developments should be adopted, the company 
had acquired the river front and acreage required for that enterprise as de- 
scribed by its author. Should any other forms of power transmission be 
adopted, the company's real estate was most advantageously located for such 
purposes, and whatever land it owned in excess of that required for the power- 
plant would be in demand at advanced prices for purchase or lease by 
power customers when constructing their factories. 



In carrying out the above-mentioned improvements for residence and 
freight transportation, two companies were formed and financed, the land 
company for the development of the residential tract under the title of 
Niagara Development Company, and the railroad transportation and termi- 
nal freight facilities under the title of Niagara Junction Railway Company. 
Both companies were organized in June, 1892, under the laws of the State 
of New York, with identical officers and directors, similar to those of The 
Cataract Construction Company. The financial plans were similar for both 
companies, with certain exceptions in amounts required because of different 
purposes and costs. 

The capital stocks were authorized as follows: 

Share Capital Authorized 
Par Value $100 Each 

Development Company 
Issued Jan. 1, 1899 

Junction Railway Company 
Issued Jan. 1, 1893 

Common Stock 

to be issued in the pur- 
chase of land 



Preferred Stock 

eight per cent cumula- 
tive and convertible, to 
be sold for cash 



Land purchased from The 
Niagara Falls Power 
Company at the acre 

price of 

payable in common stock 
issue as above 

368 acres 
$ 2,138 

166 acres 
$ 2,500 

The Niagara Falls Power Company by these transactions became the 
owner of all the common stocks issued, which exceeded the preferred stock 
and thereby acquired and held the control of both companies. 

The preferred stocks were offered June 10, 1892, under Circular No. 16 1 
of The Cataract Construction Company, to the syndicate subscribers under 
the agreement of January 17, 1890, at the rate of $2000 or two shares of 
preferred stocks at par, for each share of The Cataract Construction Com- 
pany owned by such subscribers. The privileges of subscription were availed 

1 Further particulars of these issues of Development and Junction Railway companies will be found in 
Circulars Nos. 16 and 65, Appendix D, Volume I. 



of and $600,000 cash was provided : $480,000 for the construction of dwellings 
and the maintenance of the property acquired by the Niagara Development 
Company, and $120,000 for the acquisition of right-of-way for a small part 
of the railway line not derived from the power company, and for the con- 
struction, equipment and operation of a single-track standard-gauge line 
of the Niagara Junction Railway Company. The subscribers to the preferred 
stocks were nearly identical and similar to the list of "money subscribers" of 
January 17, 1890, who became the stockholders of The Cataract Construction 
Company. No commissions or allowances of any kind were made or paid 
to any one on account of these subscriptions. 

In June, 1903, the preferred stocks of both companies were purchased at 
par and interest by The Niagara Falls Power Company and paid for in 
shares of that company at par. 

By reference to the map on pages 321-322 it will be seen that the landed 
estate of the associated companies is located mainly within the municipal 
limits of the present city of Niagara Falls. About one-third is located on the 
river front, with projected wharfs and dock facilities, of nearly 2 miles 
along the navigable channel, a portion of which was deepened by the United 
States authorities so as to accommodate shipping from western cities upon the 
Great Lakes. 

As the city is bounded on two sides of its location by the impassable Niagara 
River, its future growth must be towards the open countryside, across which, 
within the municipal limits, a portion of the company's lands extends for about 
3I/2 miles at a right angle from the river. The main lines of the New York 
Central and the Erie railways pass for 2 miles through and by the side of the 
property, while the Lockport Branch of the New York Central forms the 
northern boundary of the estate. The New York Central station, Echota, 
built for the power company, is located upon this property. 

For the convenience of employees the residential district was located in 
the central portion of the estate, and the water facilities desired by the manu- 
facturers for shipping were provided by the company's docks, constructed 
at the upper end of the river front, near this central locality. 


The Niagara Development Company was organized under the business 
corporation law of the State of New York for the purpose of purchasing 
and leasing real estate and buildings and selling, leasing and improving the 
same. It owned in fee the residential village, christened by the Cherokee 
word "Echota," meaning the "Town of Refuge," and other lands in the city 



of Niagara Falls, comprising 368 acres that were set apart by the power 
company for improvement for domestic and manufacturing purposes. 

The survey of the estate was made by John Bogart, assisted by Albert H. 
Porter, both of the board of engineers. 

The location of Echota is shown on the map at the beginning of this chapter 
and the development of streets and lots by the view below. 
x The houses were designed by Stanford White, architect of New York. 
The company constructed sixty-seven dwellings for the accommodation of 
one hundred and twelve families. A building was erected with provisions for 
bachelor apartments, an assembly hall, and a general store on the lower floor. 
The streets were paved with broken stone, the sidewalks were of concrete, 
and a system of drainage was installed. Potable water, sewerage and 
electric lights were available in each building. A plant for sewage disposal 
was also constructed, and a well-equipped fire department was provided in a 
separate house. There were 58 acres of lawn prepared, and many evergreen 
and Norway maple trees planted. 

Street in Echota, 1894 



Echota Hall was used regularly for religious services, and by a mission 
Sunday school and a primary day school. 

To assure larger school accommodations, an ample lot on the Echota 
property was donated to the board of education, upon which a modern two- 
story building of eight rooms was erected by the city of Niagara Falls. 

The buildings were finished in natural color of shingles, with white painted 
trim. Under the influence of the Pan-American Exposition at Buffalo in 
1901, when the period arrived for repainting the houses at Echota, a scheme 1 
of color for the entire village was adopted and successfully carried out, at- 
tracting much attention from the visitors and passing railway passengers. 

In the words of the New England manufacturer for whom Mr. White 
had previously designed and built a "workmen's settlement," the owners of 
Echota also concluded that "the tasty pays." 

All of the structures erected by the Niagara Development Company, upon 
its residential property named "Echota," have been sold. The other real 
estate, formerly owned by the development company, is now included in 
the estate of The Niagara Falls Power Company by a merger with it of the 
property and organization of the Niagara Development Company. Edmund 
S. Wheeler was the first manager of the company. 


The Niagara Junction Railway extends from one end of the power com- 
pany's property to the other, a distance of 5.34 miles by main track, and 
connects with the Erie Railway and at several points with the main line 
of the New York Central and its Lockport branch. 

In addition to a right-of-way, 66 feet in width, for a double-track main 
line, with connections and sidings, the Niagara Junction Railway owns in fee 
166 acres that were acquired for yard and other terminal facilities. 

The line as built is of standard gauge, single track, of 80-pound rail, and 
with the exception of about 1000 feet is entirely within the estate of the power 

By its main line, 5.34 miles, and sidings, 4.08 miles, June 1, 1896, to the 
docks of the company on the river above the falls, the Niagara Junction Rail- 
way afforded the desired facilities of transportation for an industrial com- 
munity. Its right-of-way was the most convenient route for the conduit and 
pole line service of power, light and heat, from the power-houses to all 
portions of the landed estate, as well as beyond its boundaries for the lines of 
power transmission to Tonawanda, Buffalo and other localities. 

1 See Architects and Builders' Magazine, April, 1902. 



In anticipation of the completion of that portion of the tracks of the 
Niagara Junction Railway intended to furnish switching services to the new 
industries preparing for operation near the inlet-canal of the power company, 
and with a view of using electrical motor and line equipment if such an instal- 
lation could be had, inquiries were made of manufacturers of electrical 
machinery for railway and power systems in this country for estimates in- 
cluding an engine or motor capable of hauling 150 tons at a speed of 10 miles 
an hour on grades not to exceed 15 feet in a mile. One of the leading manu- 
facturers replied that "such an engine does not now exist, as a standard article 
manufactured by this or any of the other electric companies." 

!§ 1!E_R _R^_RJG HT OF WAY 

Map Showing Maix Track axd Sidixgs in 1896 of the Niagara Junction Railway 

Two standard coal burning switching engines were purchased, the second 
following soon after the first, with dump and flat cars for use in filling trestles 
on the road with the refuse products of the factories and materials excavated 
in the building of the power plants. 

In July, 1892, the Niagara Junction Railway Company announced its 
preparation to receive all freight consigned to the Niagara Falls Paper 
Company and to A. C. Douglass, contractor. 

The original construction of the railway was under the direction of George 
B. Burbank, as chief engineer, and its operation was placed in charge of 
Edmund S. Wheeler, as general manager. 

The use of steam locomotives continued until 1913 when the increase of 
traffic necessitated additional equipment and brought up again for considera- 
tion the relative advantages of steam and electricity. 



Upon the unanimous report of the engineering staff a contract was made 
in February, 1913, with the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Com- 
pany for the replacement of the steam system by an electrical power installa- 
tion of direct current at 600 volts, with locomotives, stations and a complete 
wire system for the switching purposes of the company. Shortly thereafter 
the steam locomotives were superseded by the electrical motor system which 
has since been continued in the operating of the greatly increased traffic of 
the railway. 

The further evolution of the plans for the power stations and transmission 
system will be found in subsequent chapters in Volume Two relating to the 
hydraulic and the electric systems, their construction and operation. 



Chapter XVI 

Charles R. Huntley 

Buffalo, Niagara and Eastern Power Corporation 
Buffalo General Electric Company 

Pioneer and Leader 
In the Electric Light and Power Industry 
In Buffalo and Western New York 

Enthusiastic, Courageous, and Persistent 

A monument to his genius and foresight, to his planning and 
supervision, which marked a notable advance in economy 
and efficiency, is the great steam-plant now known as the 
Charles R. Huntley Station 


The pozcer of Niagara is the keystone to the arch of Buffalo's prosperity. 
Electric power is the bulwark of Buffalo's industry. — Charles R. Huntley. 


BUFFALO in 1895, when electric service was begun by The Niagara 
Falls Power Company, had an estimated population of 253,000, and a 
total of real and personal taxables of about $130,000,000. The municipality 
included 39.6 square miles, with nearly 200 miles of streets. 

Although Buffalo, as a rapidly growing community of manufacturers and 
business men, had done but little financially to assist in the utilization of the 
power of the Great Falls, shortly after the Gaskill-Niagara enterprise was 
organized, 1886, a number of the enterprising citizens of Buffalo provided a 
cash prize of $100,000 for a practical method of using Niagara power in 
Buffalo, the details of which form a part of Chapter V, this volume. 

This proposal expressed a public interest in the value of Niagara power 
in Buffalo. While its failure to produce a method caused serious doubt of its 
practicability, it created a popular sentiment in favor of such use and many 
looked forward to its eventual achievement through a system of transmission 
by compressed air or water or possibly by electricity, although all these sys- 
tems were then considered for long distance of doubtful efficiency and impos- 
sible commercially, because of the expense involved in distribution and appli- 
cation as well as in the cost of the original transmission from Niagara. 

While the Niagara company had provided a large area suitable for the 
construction of manufactories with the intention of providing light and power 
therefor, the use of which must necessarily await the construction of such 
industrial plants, financial conditions then prevailing did not promote the 
construction of new factories nor the organization of new manufacturing 
enterprises. It was therefore considered important, for the realization of 
income, to provide the interest upon the capital investment made in the central 
power station system, to develop a plan by which Niagara power might be 
taken to Buffalo and distributed there for use by the many manufacturers 
who were favorably disposed to its adoption. 




In the further survey of the problem of such transmission that was taken 
up actively after the first units of turbine and alternator had been successfully 
tested in April, 1895, there were several fundamental principles considered 
as essential to the financial success of such an effort, such as 

(1) franchises without embarrassing conditions. The distance for 
transmission was about 22 miles, requiring several municipal franchises that, 
because of inexperience with the risks involved in high tension current lines, 
were likely to impose conditions that would prove difficult and expensive to 
comply with and possibly somewhat embarrassing technically to carry out. 

(2) continuity of service assured. As a new form of power, it was evi- 
dent that demonstration must be given of continuity of supply. In a district 
so well settled as that of Buffalo and the intervening municipalities, a failure 
of service, any time interrupting both light and power, would prove dis- 
appointing and expensive to the users, possibly lead to claims for damages 
and cause injury to the credit of the enterprise at its start. It was therefore 
resolved that there should be two lines of transmission and two sources of 
supply, that the supply of electricity from the American power-house should 
be supplemented by a similar supply from the Canadian side of the river, and 
that the lines 1 of transmission should extend from these respective power- 
houses on each side of the river, and be inter-connected by cables on the 
Suspension Bridge at the falls, and by an aerial line across the river between 
Fort Erie on the Canadian side, and the city of Buffalo on the American side. 

(3) block sales to local distributing systems. The management recog- 
nized from the very beginning that it was dealing with unprecedented quan- 
tities. Its large units of power were adopted with this idea, and the program 
for the marketing of the electricity produced was preferentially for the sale 
of large blocks of power, the product of one or more single turbo-electric units, 
and its distribution to small users through the arteries of local organizations. 


the abandonment of plants operated by the power of steam, it was necessary 
to demonstrate the advantages of electrical power, including its economy, its 
cleanliness and its dependability. While this might take some time for educa- 
tion, the period of preparation of the design of the line, the specifications for 
its motors and transformers, and the securing of all the requisite franchises 
from the state and the different municipalities, as well as the construction of 
the system, would give an opportunity for propaganda in favor of the use of 

1 For freedom of custom duties, see Appendix K, Volume II. 



the power, for which provision was made by securing the services of a recog- 
nized power expert, Horatio A. Foster, whose office was established in the 
city of Buffalo for this purpose. 


The applications for authority to occupy a right-of-way for power con- 
ductors were made in the name of The Niagara Falls Power Company or its 
assigns, and only for electric conductors for light, heat or power. The possible 
use of compressed air or water had been dismissed from further serious consid- 
eration by the practical demonstrations of advantages in the use of high tension 
alternating electric currents for long distance transmission of power and light. 

The Superintendent of Public Works of the State of New York on August 
30, 1895, granted the Niagara company permission to construct and maintain 
electric conductors for light, heat or power, along, upon and across the public 
lands and waters, property of the state, in the manner and at the places on the 
"State Ditch" and on Tonawanda and Ellicott creeks in Erie County, in ac- 
cordance with a map filed in his office. The conditions of this permit were 
not considered unreasonable regulations. 

Supplemental permits were issued by the Superintendent of Public Works 
upon application by The Niagara Falls Power Company, by which it was 
authorized to place its electric conductors upon Erie Canal lands in the coun- 
ties of Erie and Niagara, in conduits or subways under the surface of the 
towing path or the berm-bank of the canal, also under the bed of the canal 
whenever necessary to cross. This was in addition to the original permit for 
transmission lines on poles. 

The state reserved the right to place in such conduits or subways telephone 
lines for the purpose of communication between the several canal section 
superintendents and their employees. 

The petition of The Niagara Falls Power Company to the Common Coun- 
cil of the city of Buffalo for a franchise authorizing the distribution of elec- 
tricity within the said city was presented on October 15, 1894. This action 
formally opened the public discussion of the advantages of electrical power. 
Communications from citizens appeared in the daily papers, some corre- 
spondents finding the prospect of Niagara power in Buffalo an assurance of 
increase of property values and the growth of the city as an influential business 
center, while others expressed apprehension as to the use of the alternating 
current, the dangers of high voltages, and the lack of experience in its use as 
a means of power where many employees were engaged. Some parties thought 
the company should pay for the privilege of introducing its power, and a 
royalty or tax to the city on the revenue obtained therefrom. Public hearings 



were held, one particularly for the purpose of introducing the representatives 
of the manufacturers of electrical machinery, who were requested to state on 
behalf of their companies what devices they had perfected for commercial use 
in the transforming of high voltage and the means of its application to ma- 
chinery already engaged in the industrial arts. 

There were numerous hearings before the Common Council of the city, re- 
ports of various committees appointed to examine into the subject, and dis- 
cussions by experts, some advocating the use only of continuous current and 
others that of the alternating current, while the question of measurement of 
the current used and the terms to be charged therefor were subjects of fre- 
quent comment by the press and formed a part of the daily converse of the 

In compliance with a suggestion made at a meeting of the Common Council 
Committee, February 7, 189.5, that the city purchase the power from the com- 
pany at Niagara and request a proposal that would give municipal ownership 
and control of 10,000 or more horse-power, The Niagara Falls Power Com- 
pany made the following offers to the city of Buffalo: 

The company is now ready to execute a contract in either one of three forms for the 
sale to the city of Buffalo of 10,000 horse-power, deliverable on the lands of the company 
at Niagara, upon the following terms and at the following prices : 

10,000 horse-power undeveloped on lands of the company at Niagara, at $10 per 
horse-power per annum, twenty-four-hour power; the city of Buffalo to make 
its own wheel-pits and side tunnels and to put in its own wheels. The necessary 
water, the inlets and the necessary discharge space in the completed tunnel of 
the company are now ready to produce this power. 

This form of contract is of public record at Lockport with The Niagara 
Falls Paper Company, by whom this form of power has been in satisfactory 
use for over one year, showing that interruptions from ice or other causes are 
not to be feared ; or 

10,000 horse-power developed on the shaft of turbines furnished by the company on 
the company's lands at Niagara, at $13 per horse-power per annum, twenty- 
four-hour power; so to be delivered within six months from the execution of 
the contract ; or 

10,000 horse-power electrical, alternating current, at a voltage of 2000 as it comes 
from the company's generators at the power-house; twenty-four-hour power, 
at $18 per horse-power per annum, to be delivered within eight months from 
the execution of the contract. 

In the event of the city making a contract for power, in either of the above forms, the 
company will place at the disposal of the city all the data which it has gathered in a five- 
years' study of the problems of transmission, and will arrange for a satisfactory use by 
the city of the rights-of-way between Niagara Falls and Buffalo which the company has 
acquired. These rights-of-way are three in number and are practically complete. 



The company cannot name a price for electrical power transmitted to the Buffalo city 
line, as in the question of transmission are involved the uncertainties of the losses and 
cost of operation and maintenance. . . . 

If the citv does not desire to purchase power at Niagara as above suggested, then, 
within the limits and to the extent above stated, but not otherwise, The Niagara Falls 
Power Company respectfully renews its application for a franchise in the city of Buffalo. 

Municipal ownership became a topic of active discussion among the citizens. 
The financial requirements of such relations to Niagara power as those pro- 
posed were soon understood to be impracticable, and the negotiations were 
resumed for a franchise for the introduction and distribution of electric energy 
by The Niagara Falls Power Company within the municipal limits. No 
definite results, however, were attained until the close of the year 1895. 

The following is a record of the company's efforts to obtain favorable action 
by the city of Buffalo from October 15, 1894 to June 30, 1897 : 


October 15 Petition of The Niagara Falls Power Company to the Common Council 
of the city of Buffalo for franchise, authorizing the distribution of 
electricity within said city. Filed in the City Clerk's Office, Oct. 22, 
1894, and referred. 


December 2 Franchises of the city of Buffalo to several companies for the intro- 
duction of electrical power within the city were adopted by the 
Common Council. Tax of 2l/> per cent on gross receipts after six 
years. Franchise for thirty-six years. 

December 16 Approval by mayor of power franchise adopted by Common Council, 
December 2, 1895. 


January 14 Resolution of board of directors of The Niagara Falls Power Com- 
pany, accepting grant by the city of Buffalo for the introduction 
of electrical power within the city. 

June 18 Certificate of Incorporation of the Cataract Power and Conduit 

Company filed in Erie County Clerk's Office. 

June 22 Plans and specifications, submitted by The Niagara Falls Power 

Company, having been approved by the Board of Public Works, 
the Common Council granted the Cataract Power and Conduit 
Company permission to lay conduits. 

June 24 The Niagara Falls Power Company made an assignment of its Buffalo 

franchise to the Cataract Power and Conduit Company that was 
accepted by Conduit Company. 



July 13 Assignment of Buffalo franchise by The Niagara Falls Power Com- 

pany and its acceptance by the Cataract Power and Conduit 
Company took effect as of this date, by resolution of the Common 
Council passed October 5, 1896, concurred in by the board of 
councilmen, October 7, 1896. 

November 15 Power transmission to Buffalo inaugurated. 


June 30 Resolution of Common Council of the city of Buffalo, adopting the 

report of the Street Committee amending the franchise. 

This is a partial record of strenuous efforts for about two years on the part 
of those who were associated with the Niagara enterprise and held responsible 
positions in the manufacturing community of Buffalo, and who, while desirous 
of reducing the cost of the power that they used, had yet to be convinced of the 
safety and economy of electric power, particularly in alternating currents, 
by a careful study of its characteristics for which there was no precedent to 
inspire their confidence or to direct their methods. 

Franchises from the Tonawanda municipality were obtained by The Niag- 
ara Falls Power Company in 1898 and assigned to the Tonawanda Cataract 
Power Company organized in 1899 therefor, with a capital of $100,000 of 
which 60 per cent was owned by the Niagara company. The first board of 
directors was composed of Edward D. Adams, Francis Lynde Stetson, 
Edward A. Wickes and William B. Rankine (La Partie Carree) and Charles 
A. Sweet, Lincoln A. Groat of Buffalo, and De Lancey Rankine of Niagara 

The Tonawanda Lighting and Power Company, the local organization 
supplying direct-current light, was merged with the new company, under the 
name of the Tonawanda Power Company, and its entire capital stock was 
acquired by The Niagara Falls Power Company. On June 1, 1917, these 
shares were sold to local interests in the Tonawandas at $175 per share, thereby 
increasing the assets of The Niagara Falls Power Company by $437,500 cash. 


The insurance statistics indicated that there were about 400 steam boilers 
in active use in Buffalo at that period, having a total rating of more than 33,500 
effective horse-power. The fact that steam-coal in Buffalo was then, as for 
some years, selling in large quantities at a price not much exceeding $2 per 
ton, gave a basis upon which to estimate at what price electric power and light 
must be available in Buffalo in order to meet the competition resulting from 
the use of coal upon the conditions named. Fortunately the largest consumers 



of light and power in Buffalo were the International Railroad Company and 
the Buffalo General Electric Company that were under a personal manage- 
ment familiar with the problems connected with the production of power. 
Those conducting the electric light company were naturally interested in the 
announcement of the Niagara company's intention to extend its line to Buf- 
falo, and were quite willing to consider the subject of co-operation when it 

Daniel O'Day 

Cataract Power and Conduit Company 

was suggested that the Niagara company desired only to bring its power to a 
station at the outskirts of Buffalo where it was willing to sell the same at a 
wholesale price to a distributing company. 

As a company which had established the largest of units as expressed in 
water resources and mechanical and electrical devices for the development of 
power, The Niagara Falls Power Company was a producer en gros that 
desired a distributer en detail. Effective co-operation in distribution required 
local representation by citizens of influence. 



It was seen that the financial structure of the distributing organization 
should start with the credit of The Niagara Falls Power Company, to which 
it would invite the association of influential and successful local interests. 

It was finally concluded that the best way to create a mutuality of interest, 
as one of the essential details of success in such a venture, was to organize an 
intermediate company for operation in Buffalo and to obtain through sub- 
scriptions to its securities the co-operation of some of its most enterprising and 

George Urban, Jr. 

Incorporator and President 
Cataract Power and Conduit Company 

influential citizens interested in the establishment of Niagara electrical power 
in the municipality of Buffalo. This was accomplished by the organization 
of the Cataract Power and Conduit Company, with the allotment of subscrip- 
tions to about one half its capital stock to the associates selected for that 
purpose among citizens of Buffalo. 

The Cataract Power and Conduit Company was incorporated under the 
Transportation Corporation Law of the State of New York, June 17, 1896, 



by William B. Rankine, George Urban, Jr., and Charles R. Huntley, for the 
period of fifty years, with an authorized capital stock of $2,000,000 divided 
into 20,000 shares of a par value of $100 each. There was an authorized issue 
of $2,000,000 in five per cent bonds, which were sold as funds were required 
for construction. 

The first board of directors was constituted as follows : 

Daniel O'Day 
George Urban, Jr. 
Charles R. Huntley 
Edward D. Adams 


New York City 

John Jacob Astor 

Francis Lynde Stetson 
Edward A. Wickes 
William B. Rankine 
Darius O. Mills 
New York City 

New York City 
New York City 
New York City 
New York City 

The executive officers were : 

Executive Committee 

Daniel O'Day John Jacob Astor 

George Urban, Jr. Edward A. Wickes 

William B. Rankine 


President: George Urban, Jr. 

Vice-president and General Manager : Charles R. Huntley 

Secretary and Treasurer: William B. Rankine 

The objects of the organization were stated to be 

the use and distribution of electricity for light, heat or power within the city of Buffalo, 
the construction of conduits, poles, pipes or other fixtures in, on, over and under the 
streets, alleys, avenues, public parks, and places within the city of Buffalo for the con- 
duct of wires and pipes and for conducting and distributing electricity or pneumatic or 
other power or energy produced by the agency of electricity or otherwise ; the making, 
selling, or leasing of machines, instruments, apparatus and other equipments for the dis- 
tribution, delivery or practical application of electric or pneumatic or other energy, 
and such other business as shall be naturally incident thereto or connected therewith. 

It was also provided that no evidence of debt, to be secured by a mortgage 
or other lien upon the property of the company, should be issued without the 
consent of the holders of three-fourths of the capital stock ; also that no stock- 
holder should be entitled to vote at any meeting for more than two-thirds of 
the number of directors to be elected at such meeting. 




The subscribers to the capital of the company as required for its construc- 
tion, included the following residents of Buffalo and its vicinity: 

The transmission of power, as electricity at a high voltage over wires, 
strung on wooden poles extending from Niagara to Buffalo, constituted a 
serious problem to various interests, besides those represented by The Cata- 
ract Construction Company. 

The state authorities desired to assist such a project, however novel, but in 
the absence of precedents they necessarily relied upon the well-known char- 
acter and responsibility of the applicants, and the watchfulness of their rep- 
resentatives during progress of the work under a general permit, ready to 
impose regulations should it seem desirable in the protection of citizens and 
their property, whether they were to become beneficiaries of the scheme or not. 

The applicants found it necessary to apply many times for additional priv- 
ileges and powers, as experiences were gathered in acquiring the right-of-way, 
by purchase, by lease, and by local permits to cross roads, canals, railways, etc. 
The franchises were mainly such as would be required for an extension of 
a public utility intended for general service in the interest of economy and 
convenience in manufacturing and domestic activities. 

Again, as a pioneer, The Cataract Construction Company had to find a 
way to overcome unknown difficulties that arose and obstructed its progress. 

Public interest was expressed by its curiosity. Niagara power was as 
much needed en route at Tonawanda for instance, as in Buffalo to increase 
property values and population. Would it be safe and sure? Could it be relied 
upon, day and night, without interruption? And many other queries accom- 
panied the declaration that "anyway, we will wait for Buffalo to act first." 

Proposals were received from the General Electric and Westinghouse 
Electric companies, which were in all essential respects alike. Each company 
proposed a project for the transmission of 10,000 horse-power from the 
bus-bars of the Niagara power-house to the sub-station at Buffalo, trans- 
forming the two-phase currents generated at the power-house into three- 
phase currents at 11,000 or 22,000 volts by step-up transformers. 

H. B. Alverson 
A. D. Bissell 
Dann & Robinson 
William P. Humbert 
Francis R. Hunsicker 
Charles R. Huntley 
Franklin D. Locke 

Daniel O'Day 
Robert W. Pomeroy 
De Lancey Rankine 

Darius O. Mills 

Charles A. Sweet 
George H. Teller 
George Urban, Jr 




The General Electric Company designed a single pole line with two cir- 
cuits, and suggested, if desired, a second pole line with a spare circuit. The 
Westinghouse Company proposed to use two lines of steel poles, each to carry 
one circuit. 


Upon completion of its terminal house at the city line the Cataract Power 
and Conduit Company began the supply of Niagara power in Buffalo on 
November 15, 1896. The initial use was to the extent of approximately 1000 
horse-power for the operation of street railways. 

An important dinner was given on January 12, 1897, at the new Ellicott 
Club in Buffalo, to commemorate the introduction of Niagara power into the 
city of Buffalo, by the parties interested in promoting the introduction of this 
power, at which various scientists were present and explained the latest de- 
velopment in the electrical science and the facilities which were thereby af- 
forded for the transmission of power, so that it could compete with the already 
established steam plants which electrical machinery was designed to replace. 

There were about 400 guests present, including many recognized leaders 
among engineers, inventors, manufacturers and capitalists. The toasts and 
speakers were 

The Company Francis Lynde Stetson, of New York, 

the toastmaster of the evening 
Welcome to Buffalo His Honor Mayor Jewett 
The Empire State Controller J. A. Roberts of Albany 

Electricity Nikola Tesla, of New York 

The City of Buffalo Charles W. Goodyear, of Buffalo 
Water-power Charles A. Pillsbury, of Minneapolis 

The New York Tribune reported that the general trend of the speeches was 
admiration of the achievement, which it was said might justly be regarded 
as one of the triumphs of the century, and prophecies of the great future 
awaiting the Niagara frontier when the electric power reaches its fullest 

The growth of confidence notwithstanding the continuity and other ad- 
vantages of the service was slow. The education of the manufacturers as to 
the actual cost of their steam-power continued. Both curiosity and interest 
prompted investigations of conduits, transformers and motors. Each new 
motor installation was visited, experiences gathered and exchanged, and esti- 
mates made of the cost of changing from steam to electricity. The services of 
Horatio A. Foster, a mechanical and electrical engineer, were always available 



for guidance in such studies, he having been stationed in Buffalo since 1897 
as the representative of The Niagara Falls Power Company for such purpose. 

There were many vexatious delays in extending the lines of transmission 
of the Cataract Power and Conduit Company in the streets of the city 
of Buffalo and in making installations for the customers' use of the electric 
current. The net income earned from the sale of electricity was disappoint- 
ing during the first years of its operation. There was, however, a steady 
increase of customers, and after 1900 the growth of the business of the com- 
pany was rapid. It was constantly urged to extend its lines of transmission 
for new customers who awaited their opportunity to adopt the new power. 
During the ten-year period from June, 1897, the company issued and disposed 
of an average of about $85,000 bonds per annum for the extension of its system 
of distribution in Buffalo, with the result that in 1906 the first mortgage five 
per cent bonds to the amount of $1,000,000 had been issued and sold. As the 
productive property was extended and more capital was invested, the cus- 
tomers multiplied and the credit and popularity of the organization increased. 

The rapid development of the use of electric power in Buffalo obliged the 
Cataract Power and Conduit Company, when it ascertained that no additional 
current could be obtained from The Niagara Palls Power Company for some 
time, to contract with the Electrical Development Company of Ontario for 
5000 horse-power to be delivered at the transformer-station of the Canadian 
Niagara Power Company for transformation and transmission on its wires 
to the Cataract Power and Conduit Company at Buffalo, where it was greatly 

It has been stated that during the entire period of Cataract Power and Con- 
duit Company's activities in distributing Niagara power, it had never lost a 
customer on account of dissatisfaction with its rates or service. 

The following charts show the record of growth in population and assessed 
valuation of property in the city of Buffalo from the organization of The Cata- 
ract Construction Company in 1886 through the consolidation of the Cataract 
Power and Conduit Company, and the Buffalo General Electric Company, 
under the title of the latter in 1915. 


By agreement of December 18, 1913, that became effective July, 1915, the 
Buffalo General Electric Company purchased from The Niagara Falls 
Power Company its entire holdings, 10,050 shares, of the capital stock of the 
Cataract Power and Conduit Company, at the price of $141 per share, pay- 
able in $1,005,000 of the first refunding five per cent gold bonds, due 1939, 



of the Buffalo General Electric Company at par, and the balance in cash, 
together with interest thereon at the rate of six per cent per annum from 
December 1, 1913, to the date of the completion of the sale. 

The Public Service Commission of New York, Second District, by its order 
of June 24, 1915, had approved of this transaction and consented to the ac- 
quisition by the Buffalo General Electric Company of all the outstanding 
shares of the Cataract Power and Conduit Company, the merger of the two 

« 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 







Population in Thousands, City of Buffalo 

companies, and the operation of the combined properties under the franchise 
of the Buffalo General Electric Company. 

In September, following the receipt of the bonds, they were sold en bloc at 
the price of 95 per cent and accrued interest cash, and the proceeds $1,418,500 
were added to the resources of The Niagara Falls Power Company. 

1 The abrupt rise in the population line as charted from 1880 to 1890, should not be taken to indicate 
that the marked increase in population began with 1880. The increase began actually about 1886 with the 
plans for power utilization. The line is drawn from the point indicating the taking of the 1880 census to 
the point indicating the taking of the 1890 census, and growth is therefore averaged and diagramed by 
decades, not by years. 

1850 - 42,261 
1860 - 81,129 
1870 - 117,714 
1880 - 115,134 
1890 - 255,664 
1895 - 335,709 
1900 - 352,387 
1905 - 376,587 
1910 - 423,715 
1915 - 454,630 
1920 - 506,775 




The Buffalo General Electric Company, by its absorption in 1893 of the 
three local companies, 1 and by its purchase in 1915 of the Cataract Power and 
Conduit Company that brought Niagara power to Buffalo in 1896, acquired 
a major position in the electrical field of Buffalo, and by wise and libera] 
management became a successful institution, of which the citizens of Buffalo 
may well be proud. 

1880 1885 1890 1895 1900 1905 1910 1915 1920 1925 

1880 - $ 89,232,485 

1881 - 92,250,315 

1882 - 98,097,035 

1883 - 101,903,705 

1884 - 104,801,190 

1885 - 108,37 1,1 15 

1886 - 122,309,170 

1887 - 128.031,295 

1888 - 133,076,805 

1889 - 157,512,570 

1890 - 102,359,450 

1891 - 179,957,350 

1892 - 197,084,780 

1893 - 222,572,885 

1894 - 230,120,405 

1895 - 234,051,400 

1896 - 238,972,345 

1897 - 247,388,275 

1898 - 245,071,030 

1899 - 230,909,535 

1900 -$ 245.873,587 

1901 - 242,349,138 

1902 - 243,905,020 

1903 - 252,021,505 

1904 - 261,954,200 

1905 - 205,819,700 
1900 - 208,215,605 

1907 - 289,410,570 

1908 - 298,176.669 

1909 - 307,000,555 

1910 - 312,270,240 

1911 - 322,700,045 

1912 - 325,489,250 

1913 - 330,080,105 

1914 - 340,500,790 

1915 - 381,007,500 

1916 - 390,487.600 

1917 - 533,821,340 

1918 - 538,842.970 

1919 - 500,079,750 

1920 - 608,175,115 

1921 - 054,357,185 

1922 - 674.840,570 

1923 - 722,445,290 

1924 - 768,765.265 



Assessed Valuation in Millions of Dollars, City of Buffalo 

In 1923-1924 practically 90 per cent of all the industrial plants in Buffalo 
were fully electrified. 

President Huntley declared, "We are the link in the chain between the 
producer of Niagara power and the consumer of power." 

In its strength and in conformity with its business policy, the company 
voluntarily and successively reduced its rates for electric current furnished its 
customers, thereby, in each case, adding to its popularity and increasing its 
business profits. 

1 U. S. Electric Light and Power Company, Brush Electric Light Company, Thomson-Houston Electric 
Light and Power Company. 



In the foresight of its management it favored the erection of a large addition 
to its steam-electric river station to fully protect its customers in emergencies 
and to provide for its ever-increasing demand. This station, with an addition 
(which will bring the total capacity to 200,000 horse-power) almost complete, 
is now a part of the Buffalo, Niagara and Eastern Power Corporation equip- 
ment. It has been christened by resolution 1 of the board of directors of the 

The Charles R. Huntley Station, Exterior 

Buffalo, Niagara and Eastern Power Corporation of October, 1926, "The 
Charles R. Huntley Station" in honor of the late president. 2 


On May 14, 1925, the Buffalo, Niagara and Eastern Power Corporation 
was chartered under the laws of the State of New York for the purpose, 
among others, of acquiring control of the properties of Buffalo General 

1 Appendix G, Volume I. 

2 See portrait and text on page 334. 



Electric Company, The Niagara Falls Power Company, Tonawanda Power 
Company, and Niagara, Lockport and Ontario Power Company, through 
ownership of their common capital stock, and received permission from the 
Public Service Commission to hold all or any part of the common capital stock 
of each of the said four named companies. 

Pursuant to permission granted by the Public Service Commission, Buffalo, 
Niagara and Eastern Power Corporation issued its cumulative preferred 
stock of the par value of $25 per share, entitled to receive dividends at the rate 
of $1.60 per annum per share, and its common stock, without par value, in 
exchange for the issued common capital stock of the four named companies. 

More than 99 per cent of the total issued common capital stocks of the four 
named companies has been exchanged. The stockholders of the Buffalo, Ni- 
agara and Eastern Power Corporation and subsidiaries number approxi- 
mately 20,000, and the vast majority are residents of the territory served. 

As a matter of economics, the linking together of power-producing plants 
and the interconnecting of neighboring distributing systems into a one-unit 
service organization is most desirable. These four companies acquired, all 
operating in western New York State, had a community of interest. The 
grouping of their properties under a unified management results in a central- 
ized policy and a co-ordinated system of production and distribution. 

Hydro-electric power production at Niagara Falls necessarily must be con- 
tinuous if the maximum use is to be made of the limited volume of water now 
permitted by treaty to be diverted around the falls for power purposes. The 
use of power by consuming industries and by communities continually varies 
in peak requirements. By linking the Niagara power-plants with smaller 
hydro-electric power-plants in the central part of New York State, and also 
with steam-electric power-plants, there is provided through a single control 
the greatest possible flexibility in the shifting of power whenever and 
wherever needed. This is sound business and economic good sense. 


The following abridged histories of the companies controlled by the Buffalo, 
Niagara and Eastern Power Corporation, with short descriptions of their 
properties are taken from the first report of the stockholders of the company, 
March 1, 1926. 

Buffalo General Electric Company: Incorporated under the laws of New 
York, August 1, 1892, as a consolidation of the Brush Electric Light Com- 
pany and the Thomson-Houston Electric Light and Power Company, which 


The "Electric Building" at Buffalo 

Executive Offices, Buffalo, New York 
Buffalo General Electric Company 
Buffalo, Niagara and Eastern Power Corporation 
Niagara, Lockport and Ontario 
Power Company 
and other Allied Companies 


latter company had previously absorbed the United States Electric Light and 
Power Company. On September 1, 1915, merged the Cataract Power and 
Conduit Company. It does the entire electric lighting and power business of 
Buffalo, and also supplies Lackawanna, West Seneca, Blasdell, Cheektowaga, 
Amherst, Williamsville, and Kenmore, and owns the entire capital stock of 
the Niagara Electric Service Corporation, supplying Niagara Falls, New 
York. Population served, 600,000. Steam-electric power-plant equipped with 
three 20,000 kilowatt and one 35,000 kilowatt units, and a new 60,000 kilowatt 
unit under construction. Energy also purchased from The Niagara Falls 
Power Company. 

The Niagara Falls Power Company: Incorporated under the laws of New 
York, October 31, 1918, as a consolidation of The Niagara Falls Power Com- 
pany (old company), Hydraulic Power Company of Niagara Falls, and 
Cliff Electrical Distributing Company. The consolidation was made under 
the terms of an agreement between the three corporations dated September 
20, 1918. Owns and operates hydro-electric generating plants in Niagara 
Falls, New York, and Niagara Falls, Ontario. The system has an aggregate 
generating installation of 680,000 horse-power. Present restrictions on the 
use of water from the Niagara River limit the output of the system plants to 
about 500,000 horse-power. Owns approximately 1350 acres of land in and 
adjacent to Niagara Falls, New York, devoted to sites for factories, trans- 
mission lines and switching structures. Acquired Niagara Gorge Railroad 
Company (1925), including its right-of-way at the river's edge through the 
Niagara Gorge, its riparian rights and franchises. Owns all the stock of the 
Niagara Junction Railway Company. Also owns all of the capital stock 
(except directors' qualifying shares) and all of the funded obligations of the 
Canadian Niagara Power Company, Limited. 

Tonawanda Power Company: Incorporated under the laws of New York, 
March 21, 1899, as a consolidation of the Tonawanda Lighting and Power 
Company and the Tonawanda Cataract Power Company. Purchases electric 
power from The Niagara Falls Power Company for distribution in North 
Tonawanda, Tonawanda and adjacent sections, serving a population of about 
40,000, and operating under perpetual franchises. Controls and owns all 
capital stock of the La Salle Electric Corporation and the Grand Island Light 
and Power Corporation, serving La Salle, and Grand Island, respectively. 

Niagara, Lockport and Ontario Power Company: Incorporated May 20, 
1894, to engage in the production and distribution of electric power in western 
and central New York State. Owns and operates (a) hydro-electric plant on 
the Salmon River northeast of Syracuse of 35,000 horse-power capacity; (b) 



a steam-electric generating plant at Lyons, New York, of 40,000 horse-power 
capacity; leases a hydro-electric plant on the Oswego River at Minetto, New 
York, of 12,000 horse-power capacity, and purchases from The Niagara Falls 
Power Company and the Ontario Power Company (Canadian), under long 
term contracts, 130,000 hydro-electric horse-power. Distributing system is 
interconnected with the generating plants of The Niagara Falls Power Com- 
pany and of the Hydro-Electric Power Commission of Ontario at Niagara Falls. 
It is also interconnected with the Buffalo General Electric Company system at 
Buffalo. The lines of the Niagara, Lockport and Ontario Power Company 
are also connected up for emergency service and for the interchange of surplus 
power with the following systems in contiguous territory: (a) Northern New 
York Utilities, Incorporated, which owns and operates hydro-electric and 
steam-electric generating plants and supplies electric service to cities, towns 
and villages in several counties in northern New York State; (b) Adirondack 
Power and Light Corporation which owns and operates hydro-electric and 
steam-electric generating plants and serves cities, towns and villages in central 
and eastern New York State; and (c) Penn Public Service System operating 
hydro-electric and steam-electric plants and rendering electric service in the 
states of Pennsylvania and Maryland. The generating capacity of the various 
power sources interconnected through the Niagara, Lockport and Ontario 
Power Company's transmission system aggregates more than 2,000,000 

The territory reached, and served in whole or in part, by the Niagara, Lock- 
port and Ontario Power Company embraces seventeen counties in New York 
State and two in Pennsylvania with a population in excess of two million 
people. The company holds franchises in more than two hundred cities, 
villages and towns. Electric power is sold at wholesale to other public utility 
companies and to municipalities, to electrically-operated railways, and retailed 
for manufacturing, commercial and domestic service. 

The following electric utility companies have been acquired and merged 
with the Niagara, Lockport and Ontario Power Company: Salmon River 
Power Company (1918), operated in Oswego, Onondaga and Wayne coun- 
ties; Niagara and Erie Power Company (1922), operated in Erie and Chau- 
tauqua counties; Western New York Electric Company (1925) , operated in 
Chautauqua County; Olean Electric Light and Power Company (1925), 
operated in Cattaraugus and Allegany counties; Livingston-Niagara Power 
Company, operated in Livingston and Monroe counties ; Bryant Power Com- 
pany, Incorporated, and Cambria Power Company, Incorporated, both op- 
erated in Niagara County; Seneca Transmission Company, Incorporated, 



operated in Erie County; Bradford Electric Company, operated in McKean 
County, Pennsylvania; and the Warren and Jamestown Street Railway, 
operated between Warren, Pennsylvania, and Jamestown, New York. 

Power Plants : The combined physical properties include electric generating 
stations with a total installed capacity of 725,000 kilowatts, of which 545,000 
kilowatts is hydro and 180,000 kilowatts is steam. This includes the 60,000 
kilowatt unit now being installed in the River Station of the Buffalo General 
Electric Company and which was put into service during the fall of 1926. 
Limitations in the use of water for power development at Niagara Falls 
reduce the operating capacity of the hydro-electric plants to approximately 
80 per cent of their installed capacity. 

While there were no major construction projects in work during 1925 in 
connection with the hydro-electric generating plants at Niagara Falls, Ni- 
agara Station No. 3-C, containing the three 70,000 horse-power units which 
were put into commercial operation during 1924, was fully completed, and 
official tests of these units were made for the Niagara Control Board. These 
tests indicated a turbine efficiency of 93.8 per cent and a combined efficiency 
of turbine and generator of 92 per cent. These efficiencies in the conversion of 
the energy of falling water into electrical energy are higher than previously 
have been attained in any hydro-electric power developments. 

The Niagara generating plants were operated at capacity throughout the 
year, within the limits of the governmental restrictions in the use of water. The 
kilowatt hour output for the Niagara system reached a new high level for 
the year with the stupendous total of 3,161,130,010, an increase of more than 
10 per cent over the previous year, and 50 per cent above the output for 1918, 
the year in which the present Niagara system first operated as a unit. This 
output approximates one-third the total kilowatt hours of electricity sold by 
central stations in the entire State of New York. To have produced this same 
amount of electric service through the use of coal in steam-electric generating 
plants would have required about three-and-one-half million tons of fuel. 

Transmission Lines : The high-tension transmission system of the Niagara, 
Lockport and Ontario Power Company weaves a network of lines over the 
western and central part of New York State. It embraces 656 miles of lines 
on steel towers and 788 miles of lines on wooden poles. There are 948 miles of 
transmission circuits insulated for 110,000 volts, 200 miles insulated for 
60,000 volts, and 693 miles insulated for from 4000 volts to 60,000 volts. 
Right-of-way owned in fee, 376 miles; permanent easement for right-of-way, 
302 miles. The land owned for transmission right-of-way approximates 
4900 acres. 



In addition to the transmission system above described, The Niagara Falls 
Power Company owns various high-tension circuits between Niagara Falls 
and Buffalo, and others connecting with the Niagara, Lockport and Ontario 
Power Company's lines, all on steel towers. 

Distributing Systems: The output of the generating plants of The Niagara 
Falls Power Company is divided about equally between the electro-chemical 
industries on the Niagara frontier and direct service as light, heat and power. 

Interior of the Charles R. Huntley Station (Looking South) 

Showing panels for location of Memorial Tablet 

The Buffalo General Electric Company is the largest retail distributing unit 
in the Buffalo, Niagara and Eastern group. It serves a population of about 
600,000, with domestic and commercial users numbering 148,891 and has a 
connected load of 495,800 kilowatts. 

Summarizing: The power distributing agencies of the operating companies 
controlled by Buffalo, Niagara and Eastern Power Corporation make power 
available to about 450 cities, villages, towns, and lighting districts, located 
in a zone some 300 miles from east to west and 100 miles from north to south, 
having approximately 500,000 homes of which 80 per cent are either direct or 
indirect customers of the system. 


Terminal Station "D", Buffalo, Niagara and Eastern Power Corporation 

The station through which passes the larger portion of the electric energy that is 
delivered from the generators at Niagara Falls over the transmission lines 
to Buffalo, from whence it is distributed over the associated companies' 
lines of high tension transmission south and east, beyond the state lines 

Volume One 





Coleman Sellers,, e.d. 


Chief Engineer 

The Cataract Construction Company 


— " 

The Niagara Falls Power Company 


I first met Dr. Coleman Sellers in the summer of 1890 in London. As engineering 
adviser to the recently formed Cataract Construction Company, he and Mr. Edward D. 
Adams, the president of that company, were seeking ideas and suggestions which might 
be useful in solving the great problem of utilizing the power of Niagara Falls. With 
this object in view, Mr. Adams had invited a number of engineers from time to time to 
meet the Doctor and himself to discuss the subject. I happened to be in London at the 
time on special detail from the staff of the American Westinghouse Electric Company 
and, with Mr. Reginald Belfield, electrician of the British Westinghouse Electric Com- 
pany, Ltd., was invited by Mr. Adams to meet Dr. Sellers and himself at Brown's Hotel 
in Dover Street. 

At the outstart, I was greatly impressed by Dr. Sellers' personality and keenness of 
mind. At that time, he was sixty-three years of age and he brought to the consideration 
of the problem a judgment trained by many years of active and varied engineering 
experience. He brought also an enthusiastic interest rarely found in one no longer young. 
As I realized increasingly in later years, enthusiasm, earnestness and a keen interest in 
the matter in hand at all times characterized both the Doctor's work and his play. 

At our first interview, I was impressed particularly by the nervous energy with 
which he set forth various tentative plans which he had suggested. Later, when the 
Niagara Power Commission was organized and prizes and bonuses were offered for the 
best plan for utilizing power at the falls, Mr. Belfield and I were very keen to have 
the American Westinghouse Company submit plans for the development and distribution 
of power from a central plant by polyphase alternating current, but Mr. Westinghouse 
would not consent. As he put it bluntly when I saw him a few months later in America : 
"These people are trying to secure $100,000 worth of information by offering prizes, 
the largest of which is $3000. When they are ready to do business, we will show them 
how to do it." 

Early in 1893, I again came in contact with Dr. Sellers, when, in response to an 
invitation from Mr. Westinghouse, he and Professor Rowland visited Pittsburgh to 
test the newly developed rotary converter and to determine the effect of comparatively 
low frequencies upon incandescent lamps. From that time until 1897, as engineer of 
the manufacturing company which constructed and installed the first generators and 
their electrical equipment for the Niagara plant, and subsequently for three years as 
electrical director of The Niagara Falls Power Company, it was my great, good fortune 
to see much of the Doctor and of his work. No experience perhaps could give one a 
more comprehensive or accurate knowledge of his character and ability than could be 
acquired during such a period of close professional relationship, first, from the stand- 
point of a representative of the contracting company, and, later, from the standpoint 
of mutual interest and co-operation in the work of the Power Company. During all 
those years and in all relations, Dr. Sellers' attitude was invariably that of the ideal 
engineer — patient, always co-operative, zealous and tireless in protecting the interests 
of his client but never unjust to others. Seeking to construct no monument to himself, 
his sole object was to assist in the creation of a successful enterprise and the solution 
of a fundamental engineering problem. 

To understand and appreciate the importance of Dr. Sellers' work at Niagara, it is 
necessary to realize the state of the art of power transmission at the dates when the 



decisions of The Cataract Construction Company and of The Niagara Falls Power 
Company were made. The most definite plan which had been suggested before Mr. Adams 
and his associates acquired their charter contemplated an exclusively hydraulic devel- 
opment, a canal of considerable length being used to convey water to mills and 
factories located at various points convenient to the canal and a parallel outlet tunnel 
approximately 150 feet beneath the surface, discharging into the Niagara gorge below 
the falls. The power for each mill and factory, or closely adjacent group of mills and 
factories, was to be developed by its own hydraulic turbines, receiving water from the 
canal and discharging it into the outlet tunnel. As an alternative to this plan, which was 
in line with American practise at Holyoke, Manchester, and elsewhere, the possibility 
of one or more large centrally located plants, with some method of transmitting and 
distributing power, was considered. In presenting its problem, the Company indicated 
no prejudice or preference. The question asked was simply "How can the power at 
Niagara best be utilized?" 

Under such conditions, the work of The Niagara Falls Power Company, demanded 
from its technical advisers skill, vision and judgment of a high order. Fortunately, 
the management of the Company was eminently wise and far-sighted and under its 
direction the minds of a selected group of the ablest scientists in America and Europe 
were brought to bear upon the problem of utilizing the power of the Great Falls. From 
Europe, came Lord Kelvin, Mascart, Turrettini, Unwin and Forbes. From America, 
came Sellers, Herschel and Rowland. Plans and suggestions were obtained also from 
many others at home and abroad. 

Naturally, the plans suggested and, in many cases, strongly advocated, were various 
and often divergent. The problem of constructive development faced was complex 
and difficult. Its solution called not only for analytical and constructive ability of a 
high order, but for untiring patience, foresight, and, above all, for sound judgment. 

From 1890 to 1893, the engineers selected by Mr. Adams and his associates were 
engaged in their far-reaching investigation. During this time, Dr. Sellers, by his char- 
acter, his zeal, and his sound judgment, established himself gradually in the confidence 
of the board until, by making him president and chief engineer of The Niagara Falls 
Power Company, and requiring his approval of all construction plans, they placed upon 
him full responsibility for deciding all engineering questions involved in their enterprise. 

Prior to 1890, the practicability of transmitting large amounts of power by elec- 
tricity had not been demonstrated. In America, the determining steps in the develop- 
ment of the art of electric transmission were taken between 1885, when the idea of 
supplying incandescent lamps by alternating current through the intervention of trans- 
formers was brought to America, and 1895, when the first alternator was put into 
commercial service at Niagara. Since then, progress in this field has been measured by 
a gradual increase in size and efficiency of hydraulic and electric units, and, by step-by- 
step progress, in the development of high-tension insulators and the mechanical supports 
for transmission circuits. The first plant of The Niagara Falls Power Company in- 
volved steps relatively greater than any since taken. In those early days applicable 
theory was in its infancy, while practical precedent on a comparable scale did not exist. 

The extent to which the judgment and painstaking investigation of Dr. Sellers 
influenced electrical development in America along lines now well established has not 
generally been recognized. As a member of the International Niagara Commission, he 



opposed successfully. a resolution moved by Lord Kelvin himself which aimed to exclude 
from further consideration all systems of electrical power transmission other than 
direct-current systems. Dr. Sellers wisely took the ground that the Commission's 
knowledge of the possibilities of the alternating current at that time was not sufficient 
to justify action which would close the doors to that system. Fortunately, his opinion 
prevailed. Few at this time would question the soundness of his judgment. 

When the rapid development of alternating-current lighting and power systems led 
to general recognition of the transformer as the key to the problem of electrical trans- 
mission, advisers both within and without the organization presented for consideration 
the claim of various voltages and frequencies. The two-phase and the three-phase 
systems had their respective advocates and strong supporters of various direct-current 
systems still were active. The electrical experts of The Cataract Construction Company 
failed to agree in regard to various essential features and in exercising his power of 
supervision and approval of all plans, Dr. Sellers accepted heavy responsibility not 
only in his own special field of mechanical engineering but in the hydraulic and electrical 
fields as well. 

From 1889 to 1893, many important questions of engineering practise, in respect 
to which there is now practical unanimity of opinion, were earnestly debated. In those 
years, the Doctor, sound in his judgment, conciliatory toward others, untiring in his 
effort to secure for his company what would stand the test of time, was the adviser 
whose counsel chiefly guided his company in regard to all technical questions. His broad 
knowledge of physical science and his long experience in dealing with mechanical prob- 
lems qualified him pre-eminently in an enterprise involving large investment in a new 
field. From personal knowledge, I can testify that his impersonality, his enthusiastic 
energy and his courage in assuming great responsibility were in every way admirable. 

The far-reaching influence of the first plant of The Niagara Falls Power Company 
upon the development of the art of transmitting power by electricity has been widely 
recognized and instances might be multiplied in which his foresight avoided or skill 
surmounted difficulties which but for him would have handicapped seriously the remark- 
able engineering and industrial development to which that plant contributed so much 
of value. 

As an engineer, he earned the highest respect of his associates and of all with whom 
he had dealings. As a man, he won not only the respect but also the affection of all who 
were admitted within the circle of his friendship. 


December 31 

Under the above date Mr. Stillwell wrote Mr. Adams when sending him the above 
tribute to Dr. Sellers, stating, 

"I appreciate highly the opportunity to incorporate my tribute to the Doctor in your 
forthcoming volumes. 

"I knew the Doctor well enough to appreciate keenly the intense satisfaction it would 
have given him could he have foreseen that you would complete your great work in con- 
nection with the Niagara enterprise by becoming its historian." 







The conclusion then, seems inevitable, that the river has been the great agent in 
excavating its own channel, from near the escarpment between Lewiston and Queenstown, 
to the present position of the cataract ; that the recession has been aided by the character 
of the rocks, presenting alternate hard and soft strata ; and that the descent was over- 
come, not by one perpendicular fall, but by several. In support of this latter as- 
sertion, a single analogous case will furnish stronger evidence than a long argument. 
The course of the Oak-orchard creek, in Orleans County, is over the same strata, and 
exhibits the succession of falls and rapids, precisely in the manner I have just 
enumerated. The quantity of water, however, in the stream, is too small to produce 
anything like a degree of recession to compare with the Niagara River 

Whatever facts and arguments may be advanced to prove the existence of phenomena 
indicating the former action of the sea in excavating the Niagara channel, and whatever 
objections may be advanced for or against other theories, I am fully convinced, from 
the facts presented, that the existence of the falls and the Niagara River, in their 
present position, is of very recent date geologically. 

We come now to consider the future recession of the Niagara Falls, and its conse- 
quences. This is a subject on which many speculations have been hazarded, but no one 
appears to have undertaken the calculation with a full knowledge of the geology of the 
district, or to have taken into account the many disturbing influences. At the present 
time, the cliff over which the water is precipitated, is nearly equally divided between 
thick-bedded limestone and soft disintegrating shale. It is by the action of the spray 
from the falling water upon the shale undermining and leaving the limestone unsup- 
ported, which falls down by its own weight, that the falls recede from their present 
position. Now if we believe the statements of those who have resided at the falls, the 
recession has been about fifty yards within the last forty years ; but from all the data 
I have been able to obtain, this appears to be much too great an estimate ; indeed, it 
is extremely questionable if the fall has receded as many feet within that time. The 
central portion of the Horseshoe Fall recedes more rapidly than any other part, for 
here the greatest force of the river is exerted. We know, likewise, from the testimony 
of all residents at this place, that the American Fall is becoming more curved in its 
outline, whereas, formerly it was nearly in a straight line. The successive descent of 
large masses of limestone, and the still continued overhanging of the table rock, prove 
very conclusively the unremitting action of water and air upon the shale below. 

In the absence of established landmarks, we are compelled to leave the rate of reces- 
sion unsettled for the present. The accompanying 1 trigonometrical map of the falls 
will furnish the means of doing this, by the monuments which have been established, 
and which may be considered as permanent points of reference for the future. 

Leaving out of view the time or rate of recession, we have sufficient data to establish 
with certainty the future changes which will supervene, allowing the recession to go on as 
it is now doing. The lower half of the rock at the cascade, or about eighty feet, is of 
soft shale, the limestone above being of equal thickness ; higher still is about sixty feet 
1 See Chapter XX, page 403, of Geological Report of James Hall, Geologist. 



of thin-bedded limestone, forming the rapids. Now these beds dip to the south at the 
rate of about twenty-five feet in the mile, and the declivity of the bed of the river is about 
fifteen feet in the mile from the falls to Lewiston. It follows, therefore, that as the falls 
recede, there will be a less amount of shale above water, owing to the dip ; and to this 
must be added the amount of declivity in the river bed, both together making forty 
feet. So that when the fall has receded one mile, the surface of the water will stand 
at a point in the shale half way between the present surface of the water and the bottom 
of the limestone. Going on at this rate for another mile would take away from the fall 
forty feet more of the shale, so that the surface of the river would then stand at the base 
of the limestone. 

The cataract would then have a solid wall of limestone to wear down, the river 
beneath protecting, in a great measure, the undermining action upon the shale. During 
this time, and at the end of the first mile, the falls would have arrived at the present 
site of the commencement of the rapids, and thus about sixty feet more of limestone 
would be added to the height; unless from its thin-bedded character it continued to 
recede faster, and thus remain a rapid. In this case, there would be a fall of 140 feet 
at the end of the first mile ; and one of 100 feet at the end of the second mile. 

At this period, then, we are to contemplate the cataract of Niagara as having 
receded two miles, the shale having disappeared beneath the river, and the cascade pre- 
senting a solid wall of limestone 100 feet high, and a rapid of forty or fifty feet (o, m) 
beyond. The recession will then go on very gradually ; and so soon as masses from this 
cliff have fallen down to fill up the river bed, as they inevitably will in a great measure, 
then the base will be protected so effectually that little influence will be exerted by the 
force of the water. Eventually, however, the cliff will be broken down, and huge frag- 
ments piled up below, until the cataract will be nearly lost amid them. This state of 
things will continue for a long time, the height gradually diminishing, till the river 
has cut its way back for two miles further, when there will be no thick-bedded limestone 
above water, and the higher beds will form a rapid as before. 

This point of meeting between the surface of the river below the fall and the top of the 
thick-bedded limestone, will be about one hundred feet lower than the top of the present 
cascade ; and as there will be forty feet of rapids in the thin-bedded limestone within a 
short space, as there now is, it follows that there will be added to the descent of the 
river beyond the rapids, one hundred feet more than at present, as the surface of the 
limestone has dipped to that amount. The whole fall in the river at that time, from 
Lake Erie to the point of junction between the limestone and water below the rapids, 
will be about one hundred and sixty feet. The distance between this point and the outlet 
of Lake Erie is occupied by nearly uniform soft layers ; and after a partial wearing 
down of the limestone forming the rapids, the descent will be equally distributed over 
the whole extent of sixteen miles, giving a uniform declivity of about ten feet in the 
mile, or one-third less than the present declivity in the bed of the river from the falls 
to Lewiston. From the nature of the bed of the river for sixteen miles below Lake Erie, 
it may be doubted whether this rapid descent along the whole distance would be con- 
tinued; for the stream, having no heavy blocks of rock to remove, would keep its 
channel clear with a far less declivity ; and should this prove the case here, we might 
still have a fall of a few feet, at the outlet of Lake Erie, over the limestone succeeding 
the salt group. 



Whether such a fall would occur depends upon the solution of the problem regarding 
the required declivity in the bed of the river below Lake Erie. Whichever way it may 
occur, it will make no material difference in the great result, which will be either a 
continuous rapid stream from Lake Erie to Lewiston, or a rapid stream with a low 
fall at the outlet of Erie. If present causes continue to operate as now, such will be 
the consummation of the grand cataract of Niagara. 


June 25, 1825 

Invitation to Eastern Capitalists and Manufacturers, 
signed by Augustus Porter and P. B. Porter. 

Januar} r , 1847 

To Capitalists and Manufacturers, signed by Augustus 

Undated, probably about 1877 
Niagara Falls Canal Company, unsigned. 


Circulars issued at Niagara Falls, describing the advan- 
tages of the location as a residence and particularly for the 
use of the water-power of the great river and falls, in manu- 
facturing, for which unusual facilities in raw material, trans- 
portation and mill-sites were available upon moderate terms. 




The subscribers are proprietors of the lands which embrace the rapids and falls, on 
the American side of the Niagara ; and also of Iris, Bath, and the other small islands lying 
in the rapids, and connected, by bridges, with the main shore. The situation is not sur- 
passed, and probably not equalled, in the United States, as a site for the establishment 
of manufactures, whether viewed in reference to its intrinsic advantages, or to its 
exterior facilities for the collection of manufacturing materials, and the distribution 
of fabrics. The country in the vicinity of the falls is rich in soil, romantically beautiful 
in formation, and proverbial for salubrity. The pure and limpid waters of the Niagara — 
always flowing with an uniform current, and full banks — are as propitious to the health, 
as they are conducive to the comfort and luxury of its inhabitants. From the head of 
the rapids to the Great Falls, a distance of three-fourths of a mile, there is a regular 
succession of chutes, which give, in the aggregate, sixty feet of perpendicular descent ; 
and the adjoining banks appear to have been expressly designed for the convenience 
of leading water from the river for hydraulic operations. Practically speaking, the 
extent to which water-power may be here applied is without limit. A thousand mills 
might be erected with the same ease, and equally accessible, as if on a plain ; and each 
supplied with a never-failing water-power, at an expense not exceeding fifty dollars, 
and be at the same time, perfectly secure against the dangers of inundation. This 
position is connected with the grand canal by an excellent boat navigation of ten miles 
in length, terminating in the canal at the mouth of Tonnewanta creek, through a lock 
of five feet lift — and with Erie and the other western lakes, by a safe and uninter- 
rupted sloop navigation. In the opposite direction, it is only seven miles distant from 
Lewiston, the head of the sloop navigation of Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence. The 
communication with Lewiston is, at present, by a good road, but will probably soon 
be improved by the substitution of a canal or railway. The extensive forests which 
border the Niagara, the lake and the canal, and cover the islands in the river, will furnish 
a cheap and abundant supply of fuel for manufacturing purposes, for many years to 
come ; and until the canals, already commenced, between Lake Erie and the Ohio, shall 
open a ready and cheap access to the vast beds of stone coal with which the whole of 
that region abounds. Adjoining and attached to the mill seats, the subscribers own a 
tract of land on the main shore, amply sufficient for the site of a large town, which 
must soon grow up at this place; and for the accommodation of its inhabitants with 
out-lots. Iris Island contains about seventy acres of excellent land, the upper half of 
which might be covered with machinery, propelled by water-pow r er ; and the lower 
half, situated in the midst of the falls and rapids, where Nature courts the imagination 
in her most sublime, beautiful and fascinating forms, might be converted into delightful 
seats for the residence of private gentlemen, or appropriated to hotels and pleasure 
grounds for the accommodation of the numerous strangers who annually visit this 
spot. A number of manufactories, on a scale adapted to the wants of the immediate 
vicinity, have already been erected, and are now in successful operation at this place ; 
among which are, a large and valuable grist-mill, saw-mill, two woollen cloth factories, 
two clothier's shops, several carding and spinning machines, a forge, paper-mill, etc. 



The subscribers would sell the whole of their property at this place (with the exception 
of the farm and private buildings of one of the proprietors) together; or they would 
divide it into several parts, and appropriate to each any desired number of water 
privileges. They would, however, be most gratified by seeing it in the hands of a single 
company, in which they would be glad to be interested themselves to the extent of 
their means. Such a company, with a commanding capital, and under a well-organized 
and efficient administration of its concerns, might build up an establishment which 
would successfully compete with any thing of the kind in the United States ; and would 
be, at once, highly useful and creditable to the country, and lucrative to themselves. 
The manufacture of woollen, cotton and linen goods, on an extensive scale — of iron, in 
all its numerous and extended ramifications ; and of bread stuffs, might be undertaken 
to great advantage. The lake county is celebrated for the best and most abundant 
crops of wheat. An inexhaustible mine of iron ore, of the best quality, has lately been 
discovered on the margin of Lake Erie. The whole country abounds in wool ; hemp and 
flax grow in great luxuriance, and cotton might, at present, be introduced at a moderate 
expense of transportation, through the Atlantic and the Erie Canal ; and, at no distant 
day, still cheaper, through the Mississippi and the Ohio canals. The general deficiency 
of water-power that exists along the country of the lakes — the increasing, and, already 
immense, population which surrounds them — their remoteness from the Atlantic ports, 
and the profusion and cheapness of stock and provisions, are circumstances calculated 
to give this place a decided advantage over similar establishments in the eastern states, 
in a competition with European manufacturers. The inadequacy of capital in this part 
of the country to undertakings of this kind, added to the doubts which have, until very 
recently, existed in regard to the success of American manufactures generally, have 
hitherto prevented the improvements which this situation so powerfully invites. The 
title to the property is unquestionable, having been derived immediately from the state 
of New York. 

Any information, connected with the subjects of this advertisement, will be cheer- 
fully given by Augustus Porter, who resides at the falls, or by Peter B. Porter, at 
Black Rock. 

Aug's Porter, 

June 24th, 1825. P. B. Porter. 



With a view to the more convenient and extensive use of the unlimited water power at 
the Falls of Niagara, the subscriber has located a large raceway, to serve also as a 
navigable canal ; commencing at a point on the shore of the river where the water is 
deep and navigable, above the great Falls, and terminating on the high bank about 
half a mile below. This canal, about three-fourths of a mile in length, has been surveyed, 
and levels taken by an experienced Engineer, who estimates the whole cost of the canal, 
with its appurtenances, of sufficient capacity to afford water power for at least sixty run 
of mill stone, within the sum of Thirty thousand dollars. 

The front along the bank of the river near the lower termination of the canal, 
extending about three thousand feet (now unoccupied) can be most conveniently sup- 
plied with water from the canal, and is adapted to the building of large establishments, 
on a foundation of solid rock, and with any required head and fall. 

The quantity of water that may be used can only be limited by the size of the canal, 
which may be enlarged to any extent, at an expense somewhat less in proportion than 
the cost of the one now proposed. 

The Niagara River, the inexhaustible source, is unaffected by floods or droughts, and 
at the point where the canal is supplied, will be entirely free from obstruction by ice. 

The subscriber now offers to sell the right of constructing and using such a canal, 
and so much land as may be desired, from twenty to one hundred acres at the lower 
termination thereof, to any person or persons who will undertake its immediate con- 
struction. Or he will sell a less interest, retaining a part, and contributing to the 

Further description of the property is not deemed necessary, but any desired informa- 
tion will be promptly communicated; and reference is made to William A. Bird, Esq., 
of Black Rock, and Peter Emslie, Esq., Civil Engineer, Buffalo. 

Niagara Falls, January, 1847. AUGUSTUS PORTER. 

An outline map of Niagara Falls and Village was attached to this circular showing 
the location of the proposed Hydraulic Canal and Reservoir, by P. Emslie, December, 
1846. See page 232. 


^J^ifif^® Niagara Falls, Niagara County, New York. 


Buffalo, N. Y. 

A. M. 

Niagara Falls. N. Y. 

r Stephen M. Allen, 

*^»f Boston,, Mass. 

l Miles Standish, 

187, Broadway, N. Y. 

The proprietors of the Niagara Falls Canal and property, including the greatest 
w ater power in the world and one hundred Mill and Factory sites with three hundred 
cottage lots, now offer the same for sale on reasonable and accommodating terms to all 
such as desire to establish and carry on manufacturing in Western New York. This 
property is so situated that the same can be used by the most humble manufacturer 
who may wish to run his own mill, or will meet the wants of Companies who desire to 
compete with the largest monopolies of the country in the production of any kind of 
manufactured goods. The Niagara River at this point turns at nearly a right angle, 
the great falls running across from the right angle almost in a continuation with one 
of the shores, the village lying within the angle. 

The Hydraulic Canal opens from the river about one mile above the Falls, and at the 
end of steamboat and other navigation, and runs directly across the town to the River 
bank about a quarter of a mile below the American Fall. A basin, to be continued about 
one mile in length along the river bank on the Company's lands, receives and discharges 
the water from the Canal through raceways or flumes to each factory site in quantities 
to suit, and with a perpendicular fall of any desired height not exceeding one hundred 
and ninety feet. The present size and capacity of the Canal at its mouth is sixty-six 
feet in width, with ten feet depth of water which is maintained with slight variation 
throughout the whole year. The depth of water in the basin below is eleven feet, and 
canal boats pass without difficulty. Neither in winter nor at any other time during the 
year is there trouble from anchor or floating ice, and the whole water power is a 
perfectly uniform one. The canal is cut through solid limestone rock, and is about 
one mile in length, the average cut being twenty-two feet, with perpendicular walls and 
no wash of banks to make the water impure. The Canal can be enlarged to the width 
of one hundred feet, and building stone for factories can be quarried from its banks 
and floated down in boats to any point desired. 

The facilities for the transportation of freight both by land and water are unsur- 
passed in the United States. The New York Central and Erie Rail Roads cross the 
lands of the Company and can be connected by side tracks of a few rods in length 
with the banks of the Canal or factories on the same, thus connecting with all the 
Rail Roads in the United States and the Canadas. Canal Boats loaded in New York 
City or the Western States, can unload and load again in the canal basin within a 



quarter of a mile of the American Fall. Vessels loaded on Lake Superioi*, Michigan, 
or at any of the lake ports of the West can discharge and reload at Niagara Falls 
for any American or European port. This central point for the manufacturing business 
of the States, Canada, or for the exportation of manufactured goods to any part of 
the world, has many superior advantages of location as well as of water power. 

The costs of living are less than in most manufacturing districts, and taxation re- 
markably low. The great West is open for every supply from that region while it is 
a notorious fact that many other of the necessaries of life can be sold cheaper than in 
New York City. Coal and iron can be delivered on the line of the Canal, as can almost 
every other commodity needed in manufacturing, from the cars or vessels in which they 
are first placed for transportation. 

The sites for factories and other mills for every variety of manufacture will be sold 
low according to location and size, and the water at one thousand dollars per square 
foot of open weir surface at the head of the Canal, and the opening in the gates below 
to correspond in size to the square of water purchased, whatever that may be. There- 
fore persons can purchase one foot or more upward to ten square feet as they may 
wish at the same rate, and may use as much of the fall as they please. 

J. P. Frizzell, Esq., an experienced engineer of Boston, estimates that a square 
foot of water at the entrance of the Canal which would be one six hundred and sixtieth 
part of the whole in-flow of water, with a velocity of two and a half cubic feet per 

On a fall of twenty feet (20 ft.) will give 4.16 horse power. 

On a fall of thirty feet (30 ft.) will give 6.25 horse power. 

On a fall of fort} 7 feet (40 ft.) will give 8.33 horse power. 

On a fall of fifty feet (50 ft.) will give 10.41 horse power. 

On a fall of sixty feet (60 ft.) will give 12.50 horse power. 

On a fall of one hundred feet (100 ft.) will give 20.83 horse power 

On a fall of two hundred feet (200 ft.) will give 41.67 horse power. 
This is a much more liberal estimate for loss of power upon water-wheels than is 
generally allowed. By multiplying, any additional power will be given by adding any 
number of square feet of water desired in the purchase. 




Number 16, 1892 
Number 65, 1903 
Number 84, 1918 

Circular No. 16 



Mills Building, New York, June 10, 1892. 

To the Subscribers under the Agreement of January 17, 1890: 

In the Annual Report to the Stockholders of the Cataract Construction Company, 
dated July 31, 1891, reference was made to the proposed formation of a 


for the development of the residential tract of about 400 acres reserved for this purpose 
by the Niagara Power Company from the lien of its mortgage. 

The scarcity of available houses and the necessity of providing proper homes for the 
families of the better class of operatives already seeking accommodations at Niagara 
Falls have induced the Directors of this Company to proceed immediately with their 
plans for the construction of suitable dwellings and the preparation of the lands 
appropriated for such improvements. 

The Niagara Development Company has been organized under the Laws of the 
State of New York, with the following officers and directors (it being now intended that 
the officers and directors of the Construction Company, the Land Company and the 
Terminal Railway Company shall be identical) : 

EDWARD D. ADAMS, President. 

FRANCIS LYNDE STETSON, First Vice-President. 

EDWARD A. WICKES, Second Vice-President. 

WILLIAM B. RANKINE, Secretary and Treasurer. 


CHARLES F. CLARK, Director. 





CHARLES A. SWEET, Director. 

GEORGE B. BURBANK, Chief Engineer. 

The Development Company has an authorized capital of $1,250,000, to be issued as 

Common Stock $750,000 

Preferred Stock 500,000 

Total $1,250,000 

all divided into shares of $100 each, and with equal voting power. 



The Preferred Stock is entitled (both as to principal and dividends) to a preference 
over the Common Stock in the distribution of assets and income, and to cumulative 
dividends at the rate of eight per cent, per annum, payable out of net profits July 1 and 
January 1 in each year; no payment to be made before July 1, 1893, nor for any 
period prior to January 1, 1893. 

The Preferred Stock will be convertible into Common Stock, share for share, at the 
option of the holder at any semi-annual period. 

It is provided that no mortgage lien can be created without the approval of two- 
thirds in amount of the Preferred Stock outstanding at the time of the execution of any 
such mortgage. 

In view of the benefits to accrue to the Niagara Power Company, from this necessary 
development of a residential tract, and also in view of recent sales of neighboring 
property of similar character at prices exceeding $2,500 per acre, the Power Company 
has agreed to sell its above-mentioned residential tract, comprising 368 acres, at the 
price of $2,038 per acre, amounting to $750,000, accepting in payment therefor at 
par all the Common Stock of the Land Company. This land was appraised, in writing, 
June 1, 1892, by disinterested experts of large experience, at $3,000 per acre, or more 
than $1,100,000 in all. 

To provide funds for the maintenance and improvement of this property and the 
construction of dwellings, 4,800 shares of the Preferred Stock of the par value of 
$480,000 are offered for sale at $100 per share; subscriptions to be payable in install- 
ments of not more than 10 per cent, each, not less than one month apart. Certificates 
of full-paid Preferred Stock will be delivered on or about January 1, 1893, for all 
installments then paid and for interest thereon at eight per cent, from date of payment. 
Scrip redeemable in Preferred Stock will be issued for fractional amounts. 

It is believed that this stock, having a first claim upon 368 acres of valuable land 
within the limits of the City of Niagara Falls, which cannot be mortgaged except with 
the consent of holders of two-thirds of this Preferred Stock, and which is to be used 
not for the purchase, but only for the improvement and maintenance of the propert}', 
is specially valuable as an investment. 

In the same Annual Report the project for a 


was set forth. It has become necessary, in the opinion of the Directors of this Company 
and the Power Company, that this Railway should now be built for the delivery of 
materials for construction and other materials to the lessees of the Power Company. 

The line as located is about six miles in length, and, excepting less than one- 
fifth of a mile, is entirely within the estate owned by the Power Company. By its 
connection with the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad, the Erie Railway, and 
docks on the Niagara River, the tenants of the Power Company and all rail and water 
lines of transportation are to be placed in direct business relations. A considerable 
amount of business is already awaiting this railroad, and much more is proposed to it, 
so that an immediate earning capacity seems assured. 



The Niagara Junction Railway Company has been organized under the Laws of 
the State of New York, with the same Directors and Officers as the Land Company, 
and with an authorized capital to be issued as 

Common Stock $160,000 

Preferred Stock 140,000 

Total $300,000 

all divided into shares of $100 each, and with like voting power. 

The Preferred Stock will have a preference over the Common Stock only as to 
income, limited to cumulative dividends at the rate of eight per cent, per annum, payable 
out of net profits July 1 and January 1 in each year ; no payment to be made before 
July 1, 1893, nor for any period prior to January 1, 1893. 

The Preferred Stock will be convertible into Common Stock, share for share, at the 
option of the holder at any semi-annual period. 

By the provisions of the Trust Deed, securing the first mortgage bonds of the Power 
Company, the right of way for a railway through the property of that Company, as 
determined by the Power Company prior to July 1, 1892, was expressly exempted 
from the lien of that mortgage. 

The land necessary for a double-track railway, with connections, sidings and yard 
facilities, being in all 166 acres (of which about 70 acres of yard is subject to the 
general mortgage), is to be conveyed to the Junction Railway Company for the sum of 
$160,000, payable in its entire Common Stock at par. This land was appraised June 1, 
1892, at $2,500 per acre, or more than $400,000 in all. 

For acquisition of right of way for a limited part of the line not derived from the 
Power Company, for construction, for purchase of equipment now necessary, and for 
operation as a single-track line, 1,200 shares ( $120,000 par value) of the Preferred 
Stock are offered for sale at $100 per share; subscriptions to be payable as and when 
called at option of Company on or before January 1, 1893, when certificates of fully- 
paid Preferred Stock will be issued for all payments and for interest at eight per cent, 
from the date thereof. Scrip redeemable in Preferred Stock will be issued for fractional 

Should the business of the Company so develop as to require provision for extensive 
improvement, equipment and operation, as is now expected, a mortgage not exceeding 
$500,000, to be devoted to those purposes, may, when authorized by stockholders, be 

It will be observed that the Niagara Power Company retains the control of both the 
Land Company and the Junction Railway Company, through the ownership of a ma- 
jority of their respective capital stocks, as specially authorized by its charter, and that, 
in the case of each corporation, land is furnished by the Power Company for Common 
Stock, so that Preferred Stock, issued only for improvements and maintenance, gets the 
benefit of large landed interests without money payment therefor. 

The above-mentioned Cumulative and Convertible eight per cent. Preferred Stocks 
are now, by arrangement with the Railway Company and Land Company, offered at par 



to the present Subscribers, under the Agreement of January 17, 1890, to the aggregate 
amount of 

$480,000, or 4,800 shares of the Niagara Development Company, 
$120,000, or 1,200 shares of the Niagara Junction Railway Company, being at the 
rate of 

$1,200, or 12 shares of the Land Company, and 
$300, or 3 shares of the Junction Railway Company, 

$1,500, or 15 shares in all, for each 

share of Capital Stock of the Cataract Construction Company owned by the Subscribers 
to said agreement. 

That is, each Subscriber is entitled for each share of Cataract Stock held by him to 
subscribe for $1,500 of the two Preferred Stocks. 

Subscriptions for either or both of such stocks at par will be received at this office 
until 3 p. m., Friday, July 15, 1892, and will be payable in cash installments as above 
stated. A cheque for ten per cent, must accompany each subscription. 

All shares not subscribed for as above will be disposed of by the Board of Directors 
as they may deem for the best interests of the respective companies, preference being 
given to applications from stockholders for amounts in addition to their pro rata 

With reference to this contingency Subscribers are invited to indicate how much 
stock of either Company they may desire in case more than their respective proportions 
shall remain open for allotment. 

A copy of the certificate of each corporation is herewith inclosed, showing the exact 
status of each corporation and its Preferred Stock. 

No commissions or allowances of any kind are made or paid to anyone on account 
of these subscriptions, the intervention of the Cataract Construction Company being 
solely on account of its great interest in the property and development of the Niagara 
Falls Power Company and its attendant enterprises. 

By order of the Board of Directors, 



EDWARD D. ADAMS, President. 


Circular No. 65. 

















Room 29, Eighth Floor, Mills Building, 

New York, June 16, 1903. 

To the Holders of the Preferred Stock of 

Niagara Junction Railway Company, and of 
Niagara Development Company; and 

To the Holders of Scrip of 

Niagara Development Company: 

The Stockholders of The Niagara Falls Power Company at their annual meeting on 
the 2nd inst. instructed the Board of Directors to offer in behalf of that Company to 
purchase from the holders thereof 

(1) Any and all of the Preferred Stock of Niagara Junction Railway Company in 

the amount of $140,000 at par and accrued interest at six per cent, per 
annum from the date of its issue, January 1, 1893. 

(2) Any and all of the outstanding Preferred Stock of Niagara Development 

Company in the amount of $421,200 at par and accrued interest at the 
rate of six per cent, per annum from the date of its issue, January 1, 1899. 

(3) Any and all of the non-interest bearing scrip of Niagara Development Com- 

pany outstanding in the amount of $113,4<98.24< at par; payments to be 
made for such stocks and scrip in stock of The Niagara Falls Power Com- 
pany at par. 

Pursuant to such authority, and by instructions of the Board of Directors, The 
Niagara Falls Power Company now offers on the terms stated above to purchase and to 
pay for any and all of the stock and scrip above described. You are invited to indicate 
upon the enclosed blank, to be returned to this office, your willingness or unwillingness to 
accept such offer which will be open until September 1, 1903, all purchases being made 
as of July 1, 1903, and interest being computed to that date. If you accept the offer 
please enclose with your acceptance your certificates duly endorsed for transfer to 
The Niagara Falls Power Company for which suitable receipts will be delivered ex- 
changeable into the stock of The Niagara Falls Power Company when increased and 
issued by order of the Stockholders. 



Adjustments will be made in respect of the fractions and sums under $100 in the total 
amount of stock of The Niagara Falls Power Company to which you may be entitled, 
the Company having made arrangement so that fractional amounts under $100 of that 
stock may be sold to you at par or purchased from you at 98. 

In the event of the acceptance of this offer by the holders of more than two-thirds of 
such stocks and scrip, a special meeting of the stockholders of The Niagara Falls Power 
Company will be called to authorize an increase in the present issue of its stock in an 
amount sufficient to enable that Company to deliver stock in exchange for the temporary 
receipts above described. 

By Order of the Board of Directors, 



William B. Rankine, 





Niagara Falls, N. Y. 

15 Broad Street, 
New York City, March 1, 1918. 

To the Stockholders of 

The Niagara Falls Power Company : 

The following report and certified financial statements for the year 1917 are respect- 
fully submitted by the Board of Directors : 

The Niagara Falls Power Company has been permitted since January 19, 1917, to 
divert water sufficient to operate its plant at full capacity, thus increasing its power 
output approximately 15,000 horse-power above the limits of restrictions imposed by 
the Federal Government ever since the enactment of the Burton Law in June, 1906, 
except for certain short periods of special relief. 

Permits for the additional diversion were issued by the Secretary of War under 
authority of Joint Resolutions of Congress approved respectively January 19, and 
June 30, 1917. The resolution of January 19, limits the generation and use of Niagara 
power to the capacities of apparatus installed and in use at that date ; Congress intend- 
ing thereby to prevent additional uses of Niagara power during the life of the resolution 
and until further legislation by it. 

The permit, and the authority of the Secretary of War to grant like permits, will 
expire with June 30, next, unless meantime Congress shall take further action, it being 
expressly provided in the resolutions that a diversion of any water from the Niagara 
River after June 30, 1918, in excess of the limitations of the expired Burton Law shall 
be a misdemeanor punishable by heavy penalties. 

The resolution of June 30, 1917, authorizes and directs the Secretary of War to 
make a "comprehensive and thorough investigation" of "the entire subject of water 
diversion from the Great Lakes and the Niagara River, including navigation, sanitary 
and power purposes and the preservation of the scenic beauty of Niagara Falls and the 
Rapids of the Niagara River, and to report to Congress thereon at the earliest 
practicable date," and appropriates $25,000 for that purpose. 

The Cline bill mentioned in last year's annual report as then pending in Congress 
was agreed to by the House of Representatives February 8, 1917, but failed to be 
considered in the Senate. 

By an order signed by the Secretary of War under date of December 28, 1917, 
the President of the United States requisitioned until further notice the total quantity 
and output of electrical power produced or capable of being produced by this Company 
as well as that delivered to it in the United States from Canada. The order provides 
that it must be given precedence over any and all orders theretofore placed with this 
Company. The order is depriving some of this Company's customers of power heretofore 
delivered them under contracts of long standing and for long terms, increasing the 
supply to others whose products the Federal administration considers more essential to 
the successful conduct of the war. 



This Company is endeavoring in every way to co-operate with the United States War 
Department to make Niagara power of the greatest possible service toward winning 
the war. 

That there is insufficient power at Niagara to supply present requirements is due 
largely, if not wholly, to the continued unwillingness of Congress since the question of 
Federal control of Niagara diversion was first raised in 1906 to enact permanent pro- 
vision for the subject and to fix the status and the rights of the companies which had 
constructed expensive plants pursuant to authority of the State of New York and had 
been lawfully operating for many years before their rights were questioned. 

During all that time this Company has stood ready upon any reasonable permanent 
settlement of its rights at least to complete its original undertaking. This would have 
substantially doubled the present output of the American plant with little, if any, 
diversion of water above the amount now in use by it under the existing temporary 

In response to enquiries of the War Department made in 1913 this Company stated 
in a letter to the Chief of Engineers that 

"no one can be more desirous of meeting any increased demand for power 
than will be The Niagara Falls Power Company, the pioneer in the production 
of hydro-electric energy for industrial use . . . whose enterprise preceded 
any demand for electrical power and antedated any and all legal compli- 
cations. . . . 

"Preliminary estimates indicate the possibility of supplementing the present 
works of The Niagara Falls Power Company so as to utilize to the utmost 
practicable extent, between its intake and outlet, the potentiality of the waters 
by it diverted from the river. . . . To this end, however, an absolutely 
essential prerequisite would be the approval of the Federal Government of the 
right to use the water permanently, or for an adequate period, and under 
conditions promising a fair return." 

Later in replying to further enquiries of the War Department, in 1916 when the 
prices of the required material and labor had advanced approximately 50 per cent., 
this Company further stated in a letter to Major H. Burgess of the U. S. Lake Survey, 
dated September 30, 1916, 

"Subject to confirmation by the Federal Government of our rights for the 
necessary water diversion for such a term and upon such conditions as will 
render it practicable to raise the required money, we shall be ready and would 
like to undertake the work as soon as the present abnormal conditions of the 
labor and material markets are adjusted to a basis that will permit the 
project to be carried out with due regard to economic considerations." 

A statement in some detail was made in last year's annual report in respect of the 
indispensability of the products of Niagara power. Increases in the demand for those 
products have been brought about by the war in which this nation is engaged. The 
Federal authorities now have recognized the fact that the amount of Niagara power 
available is wholly inadequate for use in the production of sufficient quantities of the 
articles required to supply the nation's needs and at the same time to supply ordinary 
business requirements. 



Throughout the year the demands on both companies for power were far in excess 
of the capacity of the plants. Practically a power famine now exists at Niagara. It is 
confidently believed that double the present output of all the existing plants Avould soon 
be absorbed for at least the duration of the war. 

The tenth unit in the plant of the Canadian Niagara Power Company was completed 
and placed in commercial service in January, 1917. The generating installation of that 
Company is now in excess of 100,000 horse-power. Its present head works, power house 
and tunnel are adequate for the installation of another large generating unit. The 
Ontario Government, however, now claims that the present rights of the Canadian 
Company are limited to the production of 100,000 horse-power. In this view we are 
unable to concur. 

Increases in production and sales by your Companies resulted in substantial in- 
creases in gross revenues. The increases were more than offset by greater operating 
costs and by large increases in taxes. It also was considered proper to appropriate 
from surplus a substantial reserve against certain contingent liabilities, consisting in 
the main of possible further requirements under constructions which may be placed 
on recent War and Excess Profits Tax laws. 

Among recent increases in operating costs is the expense of protecting both the 
American and Canadian plants against lawlessness. Military and also private guards 
are stationed at the Canadian plant and private armed guards at the American plant. 
A protective enclosure has been built about the American plant. 

In the annual report for the year ended December 31, 1913, the opinion was expressed 
that this Company's "normal function generally should be the production of power 
for industrial uses and its transmission in large amounts for distribution by others." 
At that time the Board had negotiated, subject to consent of the stockkholders of this 
Company, the sale of the majority shares of the Cataract Power and Conduit Company, 
which distributed in Buffalo Niagara power purchased of this Company. The holders 
of more than 81 per cent, of this Company's shares filed their written approvals of the 
sale. Following the policy then enunciated, the stock of the Tonawanda Power Company 
(2,500 shares of a par value of $100 each) was sold to a group in which were included 
Directors Rankine, DeGraff and Smith, who, however, took no part in the proceedings 
for the sale, in August last at $175 per share in cash, aggregating $437,500. The 
amount of $220,500 thereof, being the avails of 1,260 shares that had been pledged as 
collateral under the mortgages securing this Company's funded indebtedness, was 
deposited in trust with Central Trust Company of New York in substitution for the 
stock theretofore so pledged. Subject to that lien a further pledge thereof was made to 
Bankers Trust Company as Trustee under the mortgage securing the Refunding and 
General Mortgage bonds of this Company, due January 1, 1932, in substitution for the 
like second lien to which that stock had been subjected under date of October 1, 1909. 
The balance of $217,000, being the proceeds of 1,240 shares, was paid into the treasury 
of the Company. As shown by the Treasurer's statement, the transaction resulted in a 
large profit to this Company. 

The interest in the Tonawanda Company thus sold was subject to bonds to the 
amount of $150,000, secured by a mortgage on that Company's plant and properties. 
The sale was made subject also to an amended power contract pursuant to which the 



Tonawanda Company will purchase power from this Company for and during the term 
of this Company's corporate life. 

By resolutions of the Board of Directors, the Central Trust Company of New York 
was requested to subscribe for $1,500,000 of the United States First Liberty Loan 
3!/2 per cent, bonds, and later for $500,000 of the Second Liberty Loan 4 per cent, 
bonds, to be held by it as Trustee as an investment of trust funds in its hands resulting 
from the sales of properties under the lien of the mortgage securing the 5 per cent. 
First Mortgage bonds of this Company due January 1, 1932. Allotments of $450,000 
of the 3!/> per cents, and $300,000 of the 4 per cents, were made and the $750,000 
bonds are now held by Central Trust Company, as Trustee under said mortgage. 

In addition to the subscriptions placed through the Central Trust Company of 
New York, this Company subscribed direct for $500,000 and was allotted $300,000 
of the 10-25 year 4 per cent, convertible gold bonds (Second Liberty Loan of 1917). 
These are now held in the treasury of the Company. 

The Canadian Niagara Power Company also subscribed for and was allotted 
$250,000 514 per cent, bonds due December 1, 1922, of Canada's Victory Loan. 

Mr. Edward A. Wickes, who at the organization of The Cataract Construction 
Company in February, 1890, became its First Vice-President and a member of its 
Board and Executive Committee, and on June 6, 1899, was made First Vice-President 
and on February 1, 1910, President of this Company, resigned as President on Jul}' 10, 
1917, urging that he had reached the age limit. As a member of the Board of Directors, 
Mr. Wickes continues his lively interest and active participation in the management 
of the affairs of the Company. 

Mr. Stacy C. Richmond, a member of the Board of Directors since December 9, 1914, 
was elected President to fill the unexpired term of Mr. Wickes. 

The Board of Directors had hoped to incorporate in this report a short history of 
this Company's power development at Niagara to bring to j-our attention the state of 
the art of electric power production and use at the beginning of this enterprise and the 
part taken by your Company in its development. In collecting the necessary data it has 
been found that more time will be required than was at first anticipated, and accordingly, 
it has been determined to send the historical sketch to stockholders at a later date. 

By order of the Board of Directors. 



Frederick L. Lovelace, 





Invitation by The Cataract Construction Company, 
June 25, 1890, to Submit Engineering Projects for 
Consideration by the Commission 

Report April 13, 1891, of Projects Submitted 
and Prizes and Premiums Awarded 


June 25, 1890 

See Chapter X, Page 183, for Introduction and Conclusion 


The purpose of this Company, in organising this Commission, has been to ascertain 
the best system for this enterprise, and to have the questions involved considered by the 
highest available scientific authorities. 

The following conditions of the proposed Competition have been settled with due 
regard to the customs prevailing in each country intended to be represented, so that 
no national prejudices need be raised. 

In order to place all foreign competitors upon an equal basis with Americans, both 
for the Competition and the execution of the plans, it is proposed : — 

1. That £75 should be allowed for travelling expenses to such of the foreign 

competitors as may desire to make a personal examination at Niagara Falls, 
prior to Saturday, September 6th, 1890, the close of the Competition; due 
notice of such intention to make such examination to be given in advance of 
departure to the Secretary of the Commission. 

2. (a.) That a commission of two and one-half per cent (2l/o^) on the cost of 

manufacturing machinery be paid to the author of projects adopted, in case 
no guarantee of performance be given, or superintendence of construction and 
installation required. 

(b.) This commission will be increased to five per cent (5^) in lieu of manu- 
facturers' profits, in case the Company finds it advantageous to have 
machinery constructed in America, from working drawings purchased from 
the foreign authors, who offer to construct with proper guarantee of 

The projects and the communications to the Commission, as well as its proceedings 
and reports, to be in the English language. 

The dimensions of plans and all calculations to be expressed in English measures and 
the financial statements in dollars at the rate of five francs per one dollar and five dollars 
per pound sterling. 

The projects to be filed with the Secretary of the Commission in London on or before 
Saturday, September 6th, 1890, excepting those from America, which may be deposited 
on or before Friday, August 29th, 1890, with the Treasurer of the Company in New 
York, who will bring the same to London. No projects will be received after these dates 
to compete for the prizes offered. 

The Commission is authorised to award the following prizes for the projects which 
it may consider the best adapted to the ends of this particular enterprise, taking into 
consideration economy of expenditure, convenience of arrangement for progressive 
enlargement, mechanical results from separate parts, final results per horse-power 
transmitted, and guarantees of performance. 



(a) Hydraulic projects for the primary development of power by turbines or 

other water motors. 

1st Prize £200. 2nd Prize £150. 

(b) Projects for the transmission and distribution of power from the primary (a)*. 

1st Prize £200. 2nd Prize £150. 

(c) Projects combining both development and transmission (a) and (b) combined. 

1st Prize £600. 2nd Prize £500. 

The Commission is authorised to award two first prizes of £000 each in case two 
projects are found to be of equal merit. 

There will be paid to each party submitting separate plans of sufficient importance 
and accejating and compl}'ing with all the conditions of the Competition : — 

1. £100 to each party submitting one or more projects of (a) and (b). 

2. £200 to each party or associated parties submitting projects (c). 

The right is reserved to the Commission to withhold all prizes and compensation if 
in their judgment the projects are undeserving of the same. 

All projects are to become the property of the Company, but there shall be no 
obligation upon the ComjDany to adopt an}' particular one, and it shall have the right 
to adopt a part of any or all projects. In case any project or part thereof shall be 
adopted, the Compairy shall give the author thereof due credit for the same and pay for 
the necessary working drawings, and shall pay in addition, pursuant to a contract to 
be arranged therefor, the commission aforesaid upon the net cost of all machinery con- 
structed by others than the authors of the projects, or part thereof adopted. 

All questions that may arise under this Competition shall be subject to the absolute 
and final decision of the Commission, without recourse, but no claim will be considered 
after October 1st, 1890. 

The Competitors are required to submit in six copies : — ** 

1. Plans sufficiently detailed to permit an opinion to be formed by the Commission 

regarding the character of the construction proposed. All the special devices 
for security and regularity, electric, hydraulic, etc., must be shown by 
separate and descriptive drawings in detail. 

2. Explanatory text, giving full information as to the methods proposed, time 

required for preparation of working drawings, and the manufacture of 
machinery, and installation of project, results expected, performance to be 
guaranteed, commercial values, and with references in detail to similar in- 
stallations already constructed, if any, as evidence of practicability and 

3. Estimates of cost of furnishing working drawings prepared in feet and inches, 

for manufacture in America, of all machinery excej)t pieces requiring special 
treatment by experienced hands. Such drawings, if demanded, to be made in 

* Competitors who submit projects (b) for transmission and distribution only, should calculate upon 
a speed of 200 to 250 revolutions per minute on the shafts of the primary development (a). 

** Five of these plans may be submitted in blue-print. 



accordance with American shop practice as to sizes, according to full infor- 
mation to be given by the Engineers of this Company. 

4. Estimates of cost of machinery and all accessories with details thereof, delivered 
free on board at a port of regular and convenient shipment for New York 
or Niagara Falls. 

The estimates of cost of rock and other excavation may be made at : — 

$0.25 (f 1.25) per c. yd. (0.7645 c. meter) for open earth cut. 

$1.50 (f 7.50) per c. yd. (0.7645 c. meter) for open rock cut. 

$4.00 (f 20.00) per c. yd. (0.7645 c. meter) for tunnels or other rock excavations 
in bulk, wholly underground, and at 

$5.00 (f 25.00) per c. yd. (0.7645 c. meter) for minor underground rock ex- 
cavation by heading only. 

The assumed cost of materials and labour for temporary and permanent construction 
of all kinds, not mentioned above, should be stated, in order that an equitable comparison 
may be made. . 

The estimates of cost to the Company, per horse-power produced at the point of 
consumption by the methods proposed, may be made upon the assumption that the 
Company will have expended in the completion of its tunnel, 8,000 feet in length, etc., 
the sum of $4,000,000. Each Competitor should add to this sum whatever he may 
estimate to be the additional cost of his projects. 

In calculating the commercial results per horse-power produced, transmitted, and 
distributed by the proposed project, allowance should be made for depreciation and for 
the service of installation, and in addition five per cent, interest upon the total cost, 
including the aforesaid sum of $4,000,000. 

In considering these questions it may be assumed that there is : — 

1. Unlimited and never-failing water, with a comparatively small amount of 


2. Constant net fall or head of 140 feet (42.67 meters). 

3. A tail race or tunnel, 8,000 feet (2,438.32 meters) long with a section of 490 

square feet (45.54 square meters) and 18.148 cubic yards (13.874 cubic 
meters) per linear foot (.3048 meter) without lining, with a grade not ex- 
ceeding 7 per 1,000 and exclusive of any excavations for wheels or water inlets. 

4. Level and vacant land and low river banks readily available for the erection 

of manufactories, with access thereto by water and rail. 

5. About 10 feet (3.047 meters) of soil overlaying horizontal strata of rocks, all 

sufficiently hard to permit the excavation of chambers and shafts, wheel 
pits, tunnels, etc. 

Projects are invited for one Central Station, located at the head of the tunnel, for: — 

1. The economical development of as much power as the section of the tunnel, the 
head of water, and the hydraulic slope will permit, and — 



2. Transmission and distribution of this power overhead or underground by 
electricity, compressed air, water, cable or other means to : — 

(a) A manufacturing district to be built up within a radius of four miles 
(6.44 kilometers), and 

(fo) To the city of Buffalo, distant about twenty miles (32.18 kilometers). 
The Central Station should be so designed :■ — 

1. That a combination of methods of transmission and distribution may be em- 

ployed according to the probable demand therefore by various classes of 

2. That a block of 50,000 horse-power may be specially designed for the Buffalo 

transmission, and 

3. That the entire capacity of the tunnel may be developed gradually in blocks of 

from 10,000 to 20,000 horse-power each. 

The methods of transmission and distribution should be those best suited to large 
manufacturing cities requiring — 

1. Electricity for domestic, street and manufacturing purposes. 

2. Water for power, domestic, fire and manufacturing uses, and 

3. Air for power, ventilating and refrigerating. 

Opportunity will be given to all Competitors to appear before the Commission to give 
personal explanation of their projects. 

It is believed that all necessary details for a correct understanding of this matter will 
be found in the photographs, maps and plans transmitted you herewith. 



JUNE 25, 1890 

1. Map of Great Lakes with text explanatory of drainage area and volume of water. 

2. Map of country within a 20-mile radius of Niagara Falls, showing towns, popula- 

tion, etc. 

3. Lake Erie Coast Chart, showing depth and routes of water from Buffalo to 

Niagara Falls. 

4. War Department Survey, showing topography around Niagara Falls. 

5. Colored Map of Niagara Falls showing State Reservation, lines of railway and 

shore line filling permitted on river edge of the company's property. 

6. Photograph of perspective view of the falls and town of Niagara. 




7. Photograph of cliff with location of tunnel mouth. 

8. Photograph of company's property viewed from Canadian side. 

9. Blue-print, showing location of tunnel and property owned by the company. 

10. Blue-print, profile, showing location of tunnel. 

11. Sketch, showing Niagara group of rocks, section of tunnel and details of fall. 

12. Map of Buffalo and head of Niagara River. 

13. Memorandum regarding city of Buffalo. 








The Cataract Construction Company having asked for a 
report on the plans submitted to the Commission, the Secretary 
has prepared the following statement. The Commission having sepa- 
rated, it is not possible to have an official report carrying the 
authority of the Commission. The general conclusions of the 
Commission have been communicated to the Cataract Company in 
the Report of Proceedings, and that report is confidential between 
the Commission and the Company. 

W. Cawthorne Unwix. 

Prof. E. Mascart, the Commissioner from France, wrote from 
Paris to the Secretary, June 29, 1891 : 

I have just received and have read with great interest the 
remarkable Report prepared by Professor Unwin on the compe- 
tition in regard to Niagara. This Report reproduces a very faith- 
ful image of the discussions which took place in the Commission. 

E. Mascart 

Bureau Central Meteorologique 

A group portrait of the International Niagara Com- 
mission will be found in Chapter X, page 180, and 
separate portraits of each commissioner are intro- 
duced in appropriate places in this volume. Prof. W. 
Cawthorne Unwin is the only survivor of this group 
at the date of publication and his reflections upon 
his connection with this enterprise will be found in 
Chapter XXVIII, Volume Two, "Reviews." 






The Niagara River at Niagara Falls has long been recognized as capable of furnish- 
ing an enormous amount of mechanical energy and as having peculiar advantages for 
the development of water-power. Flowing from a great chain of lakes, which form 
reservoirs to a water-shed covering an area of more than 240,000 square miles, the 
Niagara River has an almost unvarying discharge, estimated at 265,000 cubic feet 
per second. The drop at the Falls, which creates the means of applying hydraulic 
machinery, is 150 feet, and this with the fall in the rapids above and immediately below 
the Falls gives a total head of 214 feet for driving hydraulic motors within a distance not 
greater than a mile and a quarter. The variation during the year of surface level of the 
river is very small either above or below the Falls, and is chiefly due to the action of 
wind. The ordinary changes of level do not exceed 1 foot in the river above the Falls 
or 5 feet below the Falls. The greatest authenticated changes of level below the Falls, 
due to iceblocks in the river and other causes, amount to only 13l/> feet rise above mean 
level and 9 feet fall below it. The land on the United States side is almost a level plain, 
suitable for mill sites and for the construction of head-race channels. The river, turning 
at right angles immediately below the Falls, facilitates the construction of a tail-race 
tunnel. The rock strata of shale and limestone are strong and trustworthy for tunneling. 

The Cataract Construction Company has been organized to carry out a scheme for 
utilizing and distributing a part of the mechanical power available at the Falls. They 
have purchased a tract of about 1,400 acres, which at its nearest point is about iy± 
miles above the Falls. A vertical shaft is being driven at this point nearly to the level 
of the lower river. Starting from the bottom of this shaft and debouching into the lower 
river a tunnel about 18 feet wide, 30 feet high, and of 490 square feet sectional area, with 
a slope of 4 per 1,000, is already in progress beneath the present town of Niagara. 
This tunnel is to serve as a tail-race to the hydraulic machinery for utilizing the water- 
power. It is estimated to be capable of discharging with a velocity of perhaps 28 feet per 
second as much water as would be used by hydraulic machines developing 125,000 
effective horse-power. Large and commercially valuable as this enormous power would 
be, it is probably little more than 3 per cent, of the power running to waste over the 
Falls, and its abstraction will probably not visibly affect their appearance. 

At a distance of 18 miles from the tract purchased by the Cataract Company is the 
important city of Buffalo, and at a less distance the active manufacturing town of 
Tonawanda. It is contemplated in the project of the Cataract Company to transmit 
part of the power utilized to Buffalo and Tonawanda, where, provided it can be rented 
at a suitable price, it would replace the steam-power at present employed. 

Given the conditions thus briefly indicated, two classes of problems press for solution : 
(l)As to the best method or methods of developing the power in a form available for 
application; (2) As to the method or methods of distributing the power partly to the 
new industrial center near the Falls, which, adopting a suggestion of Prof. Forbes, may 



be termed Cataract City, and partly to the more distant towns of Buffalo and Tona- 
wanda. Means of utilizing water-power and means of distributing power are well under- 
stood by engineers. But the magnitude of the undertaking at Niagara is quite 
unprecedented, and its success must depend on the application of the highest scientific 
knowledge and the widest practical experience in the selection of the methods which are 
at once the most trustworthy and the least costly. It is a governing condition of the 
problem that the power should be utilized and distributed at a cost permitting its sale 
at a price which leaves to steam-power no chance of competition. On the other hand, 
economy cannot in this case be purchased by the adoption of untried or doubtful expedi- 
ents, and exceptional care must be taken to avoid risk of accident or failure in the 
supply. If once a manufacturing district is created to apply the power of Niagara, it 
will become absolutely dependent for its existence on the motors and distributing ar- 
rangements, and the effect of a temporary cessation of supply of power would be 

Nowhere in the world has water-power been so extensively used in manufacturing 
operations as in the United States. Already, ten years ago, the census returns showed 
that more than a million horse-power derived from waterfalls were utilized for manu- 
facturing purposes in the United States. Hence it might appear at first sight that all 
that is required at Niagara is an application on a larger scale of plans already adopted 
in other localities. In earlier projects for utilizing Niagara this was indeed assumed to be 
the case. But consideration showed that not only in the dimensions of the machinery and 
in the magnitude of the power to be handled, the work to be accomplished at Niagara 
differs essentially from that executed in other localities. Elsewhere, the water-power 
available is insufficient or only just sufficient for the demand. Generally, it is sup- 
plemented by steam-power. Then it is of primary importance that the useful work 
recovered from the waterfall, under varying conditions of season and fluctuation of 
trade requirements, should be as great as possible. The efficiency of the hydraulic motors 
must be high, whether worked at full power or not. But at Niagara the supply of 
power is practically limitless. The efficienc}' of the motors is only so far important as it 
reduces the cost of the installation of the motors and their adjuncts. In the transmission 
also waste of power is to be measured against the cost of the means of preventing it. 

A further consideration is this, that, looking to the magnitude of the power to be 
distributed, the complexity of a system on which many consumers are dependent, and the 
distance of transmission, there is a probability that the best methods of dealing with the 
problem are quite different from those already tried in places where these conditions 
do not exist. 

With a very few exceptions, hitherto, where a large water-power has had to be dis- 
tributed to several consumers, the water itself has been distributed, each consumer having 
his own hydraulic machinery for utilizing it. In the case of Niagara, the great area 
which would be occupied by surface canals if this method were adopted, and the great 
expense of underground excavation in a table-land of rock like that on the American 
shore of the Falls, would certainly make the cost of the power considerable and would 
perhaps prohibit its utilization at all. In a very few cases, chiefly in Switzerland, another 
method has been adopted. The water-power developed on motors, at the most convenient 
site, is distributed as power to the consumers. Further, in consequence of quite recent 
developments of mechanical science, steam-power is now, in some cases, distributed to 



considerable distances by means of compressed air and electricity. The economy of the 
production of power at a central station, in these cases, more than counterbalances the 
cost of the distributing apparatus. In the case of water-power, there is the further 
advantage that not only is the development of the power on a large scale at a single 
station cheaper than its development at a number of distant points, but also the cost 
of air mains or electric conductors may be less than that of the water channels necessary 
for distributing the water. 

If, at Niagara, the simple and well-understood methods of distributing water to 
consumers, to be utilized by machinery of their own, are to be replaced by methods of 
distributing power, then the problem at once assumes a character of much greater 
complexity and novelty. In the distribution of power, by electricity especially, ex- 
perience is so limited and recent that wide divergences of opinion exist, even on funda- 
mental points, as to the best methods to adopt. During a visit to Europe, in the spring 
of 1890, the president of the Cataract Company came to the conclusion that it was 
desirable to bring to bear, on the solution of the problem of utilizing Niagara, the 
knowledge and experience of many different engineers. It was decided to invite selected 
engineers or engineering firms to seriously consider the problem, and to send in com- 
pletely worked-out projects, with drawings and estimates of cost. To secure a careful 
and impartial examination and discussion of these projects the International Niagara 
Commission was formed. A sum of about £4,500 was placed in the hands of the Com- 
mission to be awarded, pax-tly in premiums to all invited engineers who sent in plans of 
sufficient importance, partly in prizes to the plans of greatest merit. 

The Commission was constituted as follows : 

Sir WILLIAM THOMSON, LL. D., F. R. S., President. 

Dr. COLEMAN SELLERS, M. I. C. E., Professor of Engineering Practice, Stevens 
Institute of Technology, Hoboken, N. J.; Professor of Mechanics, Franklin 
Institute of State of Pennsylvania. 

E. MASCART, Membre de VInstitut, Paris; Professor at the College of France; 
Director of the Bureau Central Mcteorologique. 

Col. THEODORE TURRETTINI, Geneva, President of the City of Geneva; Director 
of the Works for the Utilization of the Rhone; Director of the Socicte d' In- 
struments de Physique. 

Prof. W. C. UNWIN, F. R. S., Mem. Inst. C. E., Secretary. 

It was arranged that engineers deputed by the Cataract Company should be present 
at meetings of the Commission. 

Preliminary meetings of the Commission were held in London on June 21, 23 and 24, 
1890. At these meetings a letter of invitation was drawn up and a list of engineers 
agreed on to whom the letter of invitation to compete should be sent. 

The following are the more important directions laid down in the letter of invitation 
to competitors, which it is desirable to refer to as an explanation of the action of the 

The purpose of the Company in organizing the Commission was stated to be to 
ascertain the best system for the enterprise at Niagara and to have the questions 
involved considered by the highest available scientific authorities. 



To place foreign competitors on an equal footing with American competitors, a series 
of maps, plans, sections and photographs of the locality were prepared and sent with the 
letter of invitation. It was also arranged that traveling expenses should be allowed to 
such of the foreign competitors as should desire to make a personal examination at 
Niagara Falls. Two competitors availed themselves of this arrangement for visiting 
the Falls and consulting the Company's engineers. 

The communications to the Commission were to be made in English, and the dimensions 
on plans and calculations to be expressed in English measures. 

The Commission was authorized to award the following prizes for the projects which 
it considered best adapted to the ends of this particular enterprise. Taking into con- 
sideration economy of expenditure, convenience of arrangement for progressive enlarge- 
ment, mechanical results from separate parts, final results per horse-power transmitted, 
and guarantees of performance : 

(a) Hydraulic projects for the primary development of power by turbines or other 
water motors. ^ £2QQ . 2d f ^ 

(b) Projects for the transmission and distribution of power from the primary. 

1st Prize, £200; 2d Prize, £150. 

(c) Projects combining both development and transmission — (a) and (b) combined. 

1st Prize, £600; 2d Prize, £500. 

In addition to this the Commission was authorized to pay to each party submitting 
separate plans of sufficient imj)ortance, and accepting and complying with the conditions 
of the competition : 

1. £100 to each party submitting one or more projects of (a) and (b). 

2. £200 to each party or associated parties submitting projects (c). 

Right was reserved to the Commission to withhold all prizes and compensation if in 
their judgment the projects were undeserving of the same. 
The competitors were required to submit in six copies : 

1. Plans sufficiently detailed to permit an opinion to be formed by the Commission 
regarding the character of the construction proposed. All the special devices for security 
and regularity, electric, hydraulic, etc., must be shown by separate and descriptive 
drawings in detail. 

2. Explanatory text, giving full information as to the methods proposed, time 
required for preparation of working drawings and the manufacture of machinery and 
installation of project, results expected, performance to be guaranteed, commercial 
values, and with reference in detail to similar installations already constructed, if any, 
as evidence of practicability and economy. 

3. Estimates of cost of furnishing working drawings for manufacture in America of 
all machinery except pieces requiring special treatment by experienced hands. 

4. Estimates of cost of machinery and all accessories, with details thereof, delivered 
f. o. b. at a port of regular and convenient shipment for New York or Niagara Falls. 



The estimates of cost to the Company per horse-power, produced at the point of 
consumption by the methods proposed, should be made on the assumption that the 
Company will have expended in the completion of its tunnel, 8,000 feet in length, etc., 
the sum of $4,000,000 ; every competitor should add to this sum whatever he might 
estimate to be the additional cost of his projects. 

In calculating the commercial results per horse-power produced, transmitted and 
distributed by the proposed project, allowance should be made for depreciation and for 
the service of installation, and in addition 5 per cent, interest on the total cost, including 
the aforesaid sum of $4,000,000. 

As to the data on which competitors were required to base their projects, they were 
directed to assume an unlimited and unfailing supply of water without sediment and a 
net fall of 140 feet. 

Projects were invited for one central station, located at the head of the tunnel, for 

1. The development of as much power as the section of the tunnel (490 square feet), 
the head of water and the hydraulic slope would permit. 

2. The transmission and distribution of this power overhead or underground by 
electricity, compressed air, water, cable or other means to 

(a) A manufacturing district built up within a radius of four miles. 

(b) To the city of Buffalo, distant about twenty miles. 
The central station should be so designed 

1. That a combination of methods of transmission and distribution might be employed 
according to the probable demand therefor by various classes of industries. 

2. That a block of 50,000 horse-power might be specially assigned to the Buffalo 

3. That the entire capacity of the tunnel might be developed gradually in blocks of 
from 10,000 to 20,000 horse-power each. 

Lastly, it was directed that, in selecting the methods adopted, attention should be 
given to the requirements of manufacturing cities, of electricity for domestic, street and 
manufacturing purposes ; water for power, domestic, fire and manufacturing purposes, 
and air for power, ventilating and refrigerating. 

It was arranged that opportunity should be given to all competitors to appear before 
the Commission to give personal explanation of their projects. 

It was at first arranged that the projects should be delivered to the Commission on 
September 6, 1890. The period allowed for the preparation of projects proved, however, 
to be insufficient, and the time for sending in projects was extended to the end of the 
year. Immediately on their receipt, copies of the projects were sent to each Commissioner 
for consideration. 

The Commission met on January 29 for the examination of the projects, conference 
with the competitors and adjudication of the awards. Meetings of considerable duration 
were held on January 29, 30, 31, and on February 2, 3 and 4. Messrs. Clemens Herschel 
and Albert H. Porter, of the Engineers to the Cataract Company, came from the 
United States to attend the meetings of the Commission. 



The projects received were probably as numerous as could be expected, and many of 
them were worked out with quite extraordinary care and completeness. In some cases 
the Descriptive Memoir alone formed an extensive treatise and contained information of 
the greatest scientific value. Amongst the projects received there was the greatest variety 
in the proposals both for developing and transmitting the power. As to the transmission 
of the power especially, it may be noted that every method known to be available for the 
transmission of large power to great distances was put forward for adoption in one or 
more of the designs received. If no project commended itself to the Commission as 
completely fulfilling all the conditions required, or as suitable for execution without 
modification, that must be attributed in part to the magnitude and complexity of the 
problem, and in part also to this further cause. 

Several of the competitors proposed to distribute the power electrically, but as to this 
means of distribution wide differences of opinion still exist. The kind of current used, 
the potential, the mode of regulation, and the mode of insulation of the conductors, 
differ greatly in existing installations for electrical distribution. It is not yet known 
what is the practical limit of size of dynamos, and the increase of size involves scientific 
questions of difficulty. No doubt exists as to the possibility of distributing even so large a 
power as that at Niagara electrically, but there is room for considerable divergence of 
opinion as to the methods which are most advantageous and involve least difficulty and 

The following is a summary of the projects received by the Commission: 

1. Messrs. Cuenod, Sautter & Co., of Geneva, and Messrs. Faesch & Piccard, of 


Project A. — Complete plans of hydraulic plant for 125,000 horse-power, and of 
dynamos and electrical distributing arrangements, both for Cataract City and Buffalo. 
In this project, turbines of 2,500 horse-power drive pairs of dynamos of 1,250 horse- 
power in underground galleries without intermediate gearing. Full details are given of 
water channels, turbines, dynamos, switch-boards, cut-outs and regulating and safety 

Project B. — Similar complete plans for turbines and electrical distribution, the 
dynamos being placed above-ground. The turbines are of 2,500 horse-power, with a 
vertical shaft driving a dynamo of the same power directly without gearing. The plan 
of distribution is different from that in the preceding project, and a higher potential 
is adopted in the distribution circuits. 

2. Professor Vigkeux and M. Leon Levy, of Paris. 

Complete plans for 125,000 horse-power. Details of turbines of different types for 
5,000 and 10,000 horse-power each. Details of lvydraulic governor and sluice gates. 
Electric arrangements for working sluices. Dynamos of 2,500 horse-power, and 5,000 
volts. Power lubricating arrangements, traveling-cranes and ventilating fan. Design 
of receiving station and dynamo motors. Details of aerial electric conductors. 

3. M. Hillairet and M. Bouvier, of Paris. 

Complete plans for hydraulic machines and electrical distribution. Turbines of 
10,000 horse-power, driving d} T namos of the same power directly, the dynamos being 



above-ground and the turbines having vertical shafts. Turbines for actuating regulating 
sluices of principal turbines. Details of dynamos. Details of dynamo transformers. 
Details of transmission to Buffalo. Plan of distribution in a quarter of the new indus- 
trial district. Details of conductors for Buffalo. 

4. Professor Riedler, of Berlin, and M. Victor Popp, of Paris. 

Plans of hydraulic machines and air compressors, studied chiefly with respect to 
transmission of power by compressed air to Buffalo. Details of turbines with horizontal 
and vertical axis of 5,000 horse-power on the impulse system. Details of outward-flow 
turbines of 5,000 horse-power. Project I. — Turbines with horizontal axis and under- 
ground compressors. Project II. — A similar arrangement with outward-flow turbines at 
somewhat higher speed, and compressors with slide-valves. Project III. — Pressure 
turbines with vertical shaft driving overground compressors, compressors compound 
effecting compression in two stages. Project IV.- — A similar arrangement with impulse 
turbines. Study of distributing mains for initial air pressures of 86 pounds, 199 pounds 
and 426 pounds per square inch. Details of experiments on the Paris mains. 

5. Mr. G. F. Deacon and Messrs. Siemens Brothers, of London. 

Complete project for utilizing 125,000 horse-power and its distribution electrically. 
Inward-flow turbines of 2,500 horse-power, each driving one series-wound dynamo. 
Dynamos placed in underground galleries. Supply pipes of turbines fed by 5 vertical 
rock shafts, 12 turbines to each shaft. Dynamos with ring armatures, 400 amperes at 
4,500 volts. Conductors, insulated cables laid underground. For electric lighting and 
small motors, potential lowered by motor dynamo transformer. Messrs. Siemens' project 
differs from all the other electrical projects in proposing to use constant current and 
vary the speed and potential of the dynamos. 

6. Mr. H. D. Pearsall, of Orpington, England. 

This is a plan for the utilization of 125,000 horse-power by the compression of air 
in a series of cylinders by the direct action of the water column. The engines are a 
modification of the water ram, compressing and discharging alternately. The com- 
pressing cylinders or engines, 63 in number, are placed in three tiers in an immense 
open excavation, each tier using one-third of the fall. The air is compressed to 150 
pounds per square inch ; each compressing engine is reckoned to give about 2,000 
horse-power. A supply of water under pressure is also obtained from the compressing 
cylinders, amounting to about 150 gallons per horse-power. This would be used for the 
water supply of the city. 

7. Professor Lupton, of Leeds, and Mr. Sturgeon, of Chester, England. 

This is a complete arrangement for hydraulic motors and compressed air plant to 
utilize 125,000 horse-power, and transmit it both to Cataract City and Buffalo. The 
turbines are inward-flow turbines of 5,000 horse-power each, with vertical axis placed 
at the bottom of a rock shaft, which serves also as a supply pipe. The water pressure 
acts below the wheel to support the weight of turbine and shaft. Vertical single-acting air 
compressors are placed nearly at the ground surface, and are worked from a horizontal 
shaft driven from the turbine shaft by steel bevel wheels. The air is compressed 



to atmospheres. An air main 10 feet in diameter at Niagara, decreasing to 7 feet 
at Buffalo, is proposed, with a branch 3-foot main to Tonawanda. The main is laid 
in a trench, and it is proposed to construct a tramway, worked by compressed air, 
over it. 

Some details of a scheme of electric lighting are given. At Niagara the dynamos of 
500 horse-power, at 2,500 volts (alternate current), would be driven by 1,100 horse- 
power turbines. At Buffalo the dynamos would be driven by compressed-air motors. 

Details of head-race canals, sluices, turbines, compressors and air mains are given. 
A map with proposed distribution of air mains. Also details of the proposed electric 
stations and turbines. 

8. Messrs. Ganz & Co., of Budapest, Hungary. 

This is a project for turbines and electric distribution, the latter not fully worked 
out, for the whole amount of power proposed. Details are given of impulse turbines of 
5,000 horse-power each, having vertical shafts to which dynamos are directly attached 
above-ground. The water is supplied to turbines by a rock shaft. The weight of turbine 
shaft and armature is supported by a very carefully designed arrangement of suspension 
bearing, which has been used in similar cases with success. The turbines are regulated by 
relay governors, and details of hydraulic pressure, pumps and accumulators for working 
the sluices are given. 

For the electrical distribution, alternate current dynamos, 336 amperes, 10,000 volts 
are proposed. The exciting current is obtained from special continuous current dynamos 
of 336 amperes at 200 volts. Regulating arrangements by resistances and equalizer 
are described. The main to Buffalo is proposed to consist of 12 uncovered cables on 
iron standards 50 meters apart. At Buffalo a station with induction transformers lower- 
ing the potential to 2,000 volts. It is proposed to use alternate current motors. 

9. Messrs. Escher, Wyss & Co., of Zurich, Switzerland. 

This is the hydraulic part only of a project for electrical distribution, with some 
details of a compressed-air plant for part of the power. Details are given of pressure or 
re-action turbines of 400, 2,500, 5,000 and 10,000 horse-power. For the compressed-air 
plant a turbine of 2,500 horse-power is proposed, with vertical shaft driving four com- 
pressors by mortice-bevel gearing. The turbine is regulated by a relay governor acting 
on a cylindrical sluice on the suction-pipe. The weight of shaft is balanced by water 
pressure acting on a piston. 

For the electrical distribution of 5,000 horse-power turbines are proposed, with 
vertical shafts. The turbines are really double turbines, so placed that the upward 
pressure on one balances the downward pressure on the other, with a surplus to sustain 
part of the weight of shaft. The dynamos are attached directly to the top of the 
vertical shaft. 

A second project is given for electrical distribution, in which 12 shafts convey Avater 
to pairs of turbines of 10,000 horse-power, together with horizontal shafts coupled 
directly to a pair of 5,000 horse-power dynamos. A special central shaft accommodates 
four 400 horse-power and four 100 horse-power turbines, driving pressure pumps and 
ventilating arrangements. Relay governors control the turbines. 



10. Messrs. J. J. Rieter & Co., of Winterthur, Switzerland. Three projects are given. 

Project A. Consists of a group of four pressure or re-action turbines of 2,000 horse- 
power each, for telodynamic or wire-rope transmission. The turbines have vertical 
shafts with pivot and hydraulic support. They drive the rope pulleys by bevel gearing. 
Details of intermediate wire-rope station and terminal station for 1,000 horse-power 
are given. 

Project B. Is a design of a group of four pressure or re-action turbines of 2,500 
horse-power, with horizontal shafts, arranged to drive dynamos, pumps or air-com- 
pressors in underground galleries. There is one water shaft to the group of four 
turbines and a service shaft for access. 

Project C. Is a design for a group of two pressure or re-action turbines of 5,000 
horse-power each, with horizontal shafts. 

11. Professor Vigreux and M. Leon Feray, of Paris. 

This is a design for a group of turbines driving pressure pumps for hydraulic distri- 
bution of power. A group of outward-flow turbines of 10,000 horse-power drives the 
pressure pumps. Details are given of the regulating, safety and controlling arrange- 
ments for the water-pressure system and designs of types of receiving turbines driven b}* 
the pressure water. 

12. The Pelton Water Wheel Company, of San Francisco, California. 

Design of a block of 20,000 horse-power distributed thus : a 4,000 horse-power Pelton 
wheel driving service pumps ; a 4,000 horse-power Pelton wheel driving power pumps 
for a system of hydraulic distribution ; a 4,000 horse-power Pelton wheel driving air 
compressors ; 4 Pelton wheels of 2,000 horse-power each for driving Ferranti dynamos. 
Details are given of an hydraulic arrangement for working the sluices of a multiple 
nozzle Pelton wheel, controlled by a governor. 

13. Professor G. Forbes, of London. 

This is a project for the electrical part only of a system of electrical distribution. 
The dynamos are alternate current, working at 500 horse-power and 2,000 volts. They 
have horizontal axes and are placed in subterranean galleries. The electricity is dis- 
tributed to Cataract City at 2,000 volts, and the larger motors are intended to be 
synchronizing alternate current motors of the Mordey type, working at that tension. 
For Buffalo the potential is raised by transformers of 100 horse-power each to 10,000 
volts. At Buffalo part of the current may be used for large motors at the full potential. 
Part is transformed down to 2,000 volts and distributed. A low tension continuous 
current for lighting and small motors may be obtained by dynamo ti-ansformers. 

For Cataract City it is proposed that insulated aerial cables should be used. For 
transmission to Buffalo, bare copper insulated on porcelain and oil, carried on timber 

14. The Norwalk Iron Works Company, South Norwalk, Conn., U. S. A. 

This is a project for distributing power by compressed air, the compressors being 
placed underground and driven by Pelton wheels. The compressors are inverted, vertical, 



tandem, two stage or compound compressors with Corliss valves and sprav injection. 
Each compressor is 2,500 horse-power, working at 55 revolutions per minute, and 
compressing 10 atmospheres. Eor Buffalo five groups of four compressors each are 
used. Two Pelton wheels drive the group of four compressors coupled directly without 
gearing. The air main to Buffalo would be 40 inches diameter and the pressure in 
Buffalo 80 pounds per square inch. 

A plan is also suggested for supplying air to Cataract City at 34 pounds pressure 
by one set of compressors, while a second set taking the air at this pressure would further 
compress it so as to give a pressure of 80 pounds per square inch in Buffalo. 

Some other projects were received, but the Commission considered that either they did 
not comply with the terms of the letter of invitation or they were of insufficient complete- 
ness and importance to permit them to be classed as projects complying with the 




The history of the origin of the Commission having been given, and a brief statement 
of its success so far that is indicated by the number of projects received, a somewhat 
more detailed account of the more important projects may now be attempted. It should, 
however, be premised that, partly from the haste of preparation, partly no doubt in the 
case of some European competitors from difficulties of translation into English of 
memoirs written initially in French, there are a few discrepancies and ambiguities in the 
papers laid before the Commission Avhich make it difficult to be quite clear as to the 
meaning intended. 

I. Project of Messrs. Citexod, Sautter & Co., of Geneva, and Messrs. Faesch & 
Piccard, of Geneva. 

These two firms, acting in association, produced two complete projects of similar 
character for the hydraulic utilization of 125,000 horse-power, and its distribution 
electrically both to Cataract City and Buffalo. The general features of both projects 
are the adoption of Girard, or impulse turbines, with complete admission and back 
vanes, permitting the use of suction pipes, so that the fall below the turbines is not 
wasted; a unit of power of 2,500 horses for each turbine, as the maximum size which it 
is practically prudent to construct, and as capable of convenient arrangement to give 
the speed of rotation most suitable for the dynamos ; in the electrical distribution, the 
adoption of continuous currents at constant potential, on the ground that that method 
has proved in practice safe, easy and simple. The method of continuous currents is 
preferred as being simpler, exacting less apparatus, and permitting the attainment 
of a high efficiency. The method of constant potential is preferred to constant current, 
because on the latter plan the intensity of current would be too great for one circuit, 
and several circuits would involve complication. 

In the consideration of the problem of electrical distribution the most fundamental 
question is the maximum difference of potential which is practically permissible, because 
the higher the potential the less in general will be the cost of distribution. With regard 
to this Messrs. Cuenod & Sautter have assumed that a difference of potential of 10,000 
volts between the conductors and earth is not too great to be safely encountered. The 
machines can be adequately insulated by porcelain and oil, and the attendants can be 
protected by platforms insulated on porcelain and provided with indian-rubber carpets. 
But in the construction of high potential, continuous-current dynamo machines and 
motors greater difficulties occur, and here they limit the difference of potential at the 
terminals to 5,000 volts. They assume that for a rate of work exceeding 50 horse-power 
motors can be used with a current at 4,500 volts ; smaller motors they would limit to 
500 volts. As to the next most important question, the greatest power of a single dynamo 
machine, they have adopted 1,250 horse-power in one project and 2,500 horse-power in 
the other. 

Messrs. Cuenod & Sautter appear first to have designed the arrangement having 
turbines with horizontal shafts driving dynamos in underground galleries placed a little 
above the tail-water level. Subsequently they appear to have become dissatisfied with 
this solution of the problem, and to have designed the arrangement of tui'bines with 
vertical shafts and dynamos above-ground. 



They pointed out to the Commission that, while from the hydraulic and mechanical 
point of view the horizontal arrangement was excellent, they had come to doubt whether 
the rock was solid enough for the construction of such underground galleries as their 
plan required. These galleries were about 308 feet in length, 79 feet in width and 49 feet 
in height. Consequently they greatly preferred the arrangement with vertical shafts 
and dynamos above-ground. In this conclusion the Commission fully concurred. 

Messrs. Cuenod & Sautter gave, as the reason for preference of the vertical arrange- 
ment, merely the doubt as to the stability of the rock galleries. But it is possible that 
the greater simplicity of the electrical arrangements for distribution, in the second 
project, had also some weight in the decision. 

Messrs. Cuenod & Sautter adopt multipolar dynamos, though, at first sight, it might 
be alleged that bipolar machines would be less complicated, have less loss from hysteresis, 
require less expenditure of current in excitation, and waste less in Foucault currents. 
As to hysteresis, they urge that though in multipolar machines the number of cycles 
is increased, the mass of iron in motion is diminished, while the cooling surface is greater, 
ventilation more perfect, and speed of rotation less. The importance of the Foucault 
currents is diminished because the moving mass of copper is much less than in bipolar 
machines, and it can be sub-divided without seriously increasing internal resistance. 
As to the current for excitation, it is so small as to be of little consequence. Two types 
of dynamos are given. One of 1,250 horse-power, with a horizontal axis, is a Gramme 
ring machine of great diameter, provided with a double field of ten poles, arranged 
so that internal and external poles are utilized. The part of the conductor on the 
lateral faces consists of plates insulated by air and forming a ventilator. The machine 
virtually consists of five bipolar machines, each of 250 horse-power — a very ad- 
vantageous size for a bipolar machine. 

The second type of dynamo with vertical axis is of 2,500 horse-power. The mean 
velocity of the armature is 126 feet per second. This is, in their opinion, too great a 
speed to permit the use of magnetic masses, transmitting the lines of force in the ordinary 
way, and an ordinary armature would also have been too heavy. 

A lower speed Avould have been unsuitable for the turbines. Hence a special type of 
armature was designed which they consider to have these advantages : the hysteresis and 
Foucault currents are diminished ; the lines of force traverse the mass radially so that 
their density is decreased ; the thickness is reduced to that necessary for strength and 
mechanical solidity ; the mass of iron is diminished to one-fourth or one-fifth of that in 
an armature of ordinary construction ; the iron plays only the part of a mechanical 
support for the winding, destitute of appreciable magnetic resistance; the winding 
adopted permits a great reduction of the exterior wire subject to centrifugal force ; the 
commutator is of the same diameter as the ring, an arrangement which, though costly, 
permits perfect regulation of the brushes and avoidance of sparking; the regulation 
of the brushes is effected automatically. 

For the regulation of the machines generally, and particularly to secure a constant 
e. m. f., the following means are adopted: (1) There are relay governors of an extremely 
excellent type controlling the speed of the turbines. (2) Fly-wheels are placed on each 
dynamo shaft, the inertia of which, added to that of the armature, moderates the rate 
of change of speed and gives the turbine governors time to effect an adjustment. 
(3) There are automatic electric regulators effecting, through greatly subdivided 



resistances, a regulation of the exciting currents of the field magnets. The control of 
the e. m. f. is effected by these regulators quite independently of any supervision by the 
staff of attendants. In case of failure of these automatic regulators, there would still 
be no great variation of e. m. f., because the dynamos have little internal resistance, 
the resistance of the external circuit is small, the fluctuation of speed is moderated by the 
fly-wheels, and the turbine governors act promptly. 

For conductors aerial lines are advocated, placed at such an elevation as to clear 
houses and trees. Where aerial lines are impossible culverts are recommended, the in- 
sulation still depending on porcelain and air. Subterranean insulated cables are, in the 
opinion of Messrs. Cuenod, Sautter & Co., too costly. 

Project A. Hydraulic Machines. In this design there are 55 turbines, each of 2,500 
horse-power, in 5 groups. Each turbine drives 2 dynamos, the turbine shaft and dynamo 
shaft being connected by Raffard couplings, which are both elastic and insulating. The 
turbines are impulse turbines, but by a well-known modification they are capable of 
working as pressure turbines also, and consequently suction pipes can be applied to 
utilize the head below the turbine house floor. 

The head-race channel has five branches, one to each turbine chamber, and is 
furnished with surface screen, movable dam or sluice to each branch grating, and electric 
automatic balanced sluices, which in case of accident can be closed from the galleries 
below. Each of the five turbine galleries is in communication with the surface by a wide 
service shaft, with staircase and lift, traveling-crane, warming and ventilating ap- 
paratus. The electric automatic sluices would shut off water from the chamber in case 
of accident, and besides this there is a butterfly valve worked by pressure water (300 
pounds per square inch) provided for working also the relay turbine governors. A shaft 
in the floor to the tail-race, covered by a balanced platform which opens under a 
pressure of 6 inches of head, serves to discharge from the chamber any water entering if 
an accident occurs. The turbine shaft bearings are self-lubricating, and act also as 
thrust bearings. The turbines run at 180 revolutions and are provided with two fly- 
wheels. The total cost of excavations, tail-race tunnel, turbines, accessories, interest, 
depreciation and maintenance, is estimated to be $6.10 per effective horse-power de- 
livered to dynamos. 

Electrical Arrangements. There are 100 dynamos, each of 1,250 horse-power, at 180 
revolutions per minute, and 10 reserve dynamos. For the new Cataract City, three 
galleries with 60 dynamos coupled in series in pairs, so as to give a total resultant e. m. f . 
between the extreme conductors of 3,000 volts, are allotted. The distribution to Cataract 
City is in two circuits of 1,000 volts for the larger motor and two circuits of 500 volts 
for the smaller motors, electric lighting, tramways, etc. 

Each turbine of 2,500 horse-power drives 2 dynamos coupled in series, giving 1,650 
amperes at 1,060 volts. Hence the 20 dynamos in each gallery give 16,500 amperes at 
1,060 volts. Each series of 10 dynamos is coupled in tension with an intermediate or 
neutral conductor. Two galleries feed the two 1,000 volt circuits. In the central 
gallery of the three, this neutral conductor is prolonged to form the two 500 volt circuits. 

The neutral conductor is connected to earth. Hence the greatest difference of 
potential of any part of the system and the earth cannot exceed 1,500 volts, while the 
extreme difference of potential between two cii-cuits is 3,000 volts. The distribution 
network, which is proposed to be carried on high masts, with oil insulation, is estimated 



to require 1,000 tons of copper. From the large section of the conductor the spans 
may reach 200 yards. 

Of the whole energy of the turbines 5 per cent, is reckoned as the loss in the primary 
dynamo generators, 5 per cent, in the circuits, 5 to 15 per cent, in the motors. The 
average efficiency is then about 80 per cent. 

Taking the proportion of the excavation and hydraulic machinery, adding the cost 
of electric plant and allowing for interest, depreciation and supervision, the cost per 
effective horse-power distributed in Cataract City is estimated at $11.28 per annum. 

Buffalo Transmission. The two remaining galleries (allotted to the Buffalo trans- 
mission) have dynamos of 1,250 horse-power, giving 544 amperes at 1,600 volts. Ten of 
these are coupled in series for each circuit, giving a current of 544 amperes at 16,000 
volts. There are four such circuits to Buffalo. Two central stations are arranged for in 
Buffalo, in each of which there are two series of motors driving secondary dvnamo 
generators, which transform the current down to the potential required for distribution. 
The mode of distribution is similar to that in Cataract City — four circuits, two at 1,000 
and two at 500 volts, with a neutral wire. 

The loss on the primary dynamo generators is reckoned at 5 per cent. ; the loss in 
transmission to Buffalo 5.3 per cent. ; 10 per cent, is lost on the dynamo transformers 
of the Buffalo secondary station ; adding now 5 per cent, loss for the circuits in Buffalo 
and 10 per cent, for the motors, the total loss is 35.3, and the resultant efficiency is 
about 62 per cent. 

Adding the cost of the proportion of the hydraulic construction involved to the 
electrical plan, and allowing for interest, depreciation and supervision, the cost per 
effective horse-power distributed in Buffalo is estimated at $20.13 per annum. 

Project B. Hydraulic Machinery. The turbines are impulse turbines with suction 
pipes and vertical axis. Each turbine is of 2,500 horse-power, at 136 revolutions per 
minute. There are 50 turbines for regular work and 6 in reserve, in two parallel groups 
of 28 each. The dynamos are above-ground, one on each turbine shaft, in a large 
horseshoe building. The head-race enters between the wings forming the sides of the 
horseshoe. The lateral channels are grouped in pairs, and are each provided with a 
surface screen, grating and sluices. From the lateral canals wrought-iron supply pipes, 
67 inches in diameter, lead to the turbines below. Each turbine is thus independent, and 
this is, in Messrs. Faesch & Piccard's opinion, of more importance than the economy which 
might be obtained by grouping the turbines in pairs or fours with one supply pipe. Four 
shafts with staircases and traveling-cranes lead from the dynamo house to the turbine 
galleries below. There are traveling-cranes also in the turbine galleries. The vertical 
shafts of the turbines are tubular, to reduce weight and to gain stiffness enough to dis- 
pense with intermediate journal supports. To carry the weight of the turbine, with its 
vertical shaft and fly-wheel (of 12 tons), amounting altogether to a weight of 35 tons, 
a cylinder and piston is formed in the turbine case. The water pressure, under a head 
of 1051/O feet, acting on the under side of this piston, supports the weight of the turbine 
and its attachments. As an additional precaution a collar-thrust bearing is also intro- 
duced near the top of the shaft. This has automatic lubrication. Above the fly-wheel is 
a Raffard coupling connecting the shaft with the armature of the dynamo. The turbine 
can easily be dismounted, if necessary, by the two traveling-cranes. The relay governor 
to each turbine is of the same excellent type as that in the horizontal arrangement. 



Messrs. Faesch & Piccard guarantee that with this governor the variations of speed 
in ordinary work would not exceed 1 per cent. The sluices for regulating the turbines are 
cylindrical sluices on the suction pipes ; a very satisfactory arrangement, because the 
sluices are completely balanced with respect to the water pressure. These sluices are 
worked by hydraulic pressure under the control of the governors. Small turbines and 
pumps, and an accumulator in a special chamber, give the supply of water, under a 
pressure of 300 pounds per square inch, for working the regulating sluices. 

Electrical Arrangements. The dynamo is arranged with an armature having very 
little iron. It revolves between field magnets having contrary poles opposite. The 
iron of the armature then only serves as a support for the winding, and reduces the 
magnetic resistance in the space between the poles of the field magnets. The winding is 
of a special tj'pe, derived from the drum winding, without its inconveniences. There are 
twenty-two magnetic circuits, each formed by an exterior field magnet and two interior 
half magnets. The lines of force foi-m a simple circuit, crossing the armature twice 
radially. The armature can be withdrawn by cranes without disturbing the field 
magnets. The commutator has a diameter equal to that of the armature. The dynamo 
is insulated by porcelain, oil and insulating cement. The Raffard coupling insulates it 
from the shaft. The exciting current of the field magnets is regulated by resistances 
controlled by hand or automatically. Each gallery contains 28 dynamos — four of 530 
volts, and twenty-four of 4,735 volts. Of the dynamos in each gallery, with the larger 
potential, 12 are regulated by hand only — 8 for the Cataract City circuits, and 4 for 
the Buffalo circuits are regulated automatically. The dynamos of 530 volts are all 
regulated automatically. 

Method of Distribution. The distribution is arranged thus : The new industrial center, 
or Cataract City, is supplied by five conductors, forming four circuits, two at 2,500 
volts, two at 500 volts, and a neutral wh*e which is connected to earth. For Buffalo, 
there are two conductors at 4,500 volts, and a neutral wire leading from Niagara Falls 
to Buffalo. At Buffalo the distribution circuits are reconstituted by compensating 
machines. A gi'oup of compensating machines consists of three machines, capable of 
acting as generators or motors, and coupled by Raffard couplings so as to run at the 
same speed. 

If the current is equally divided amongst the three machines they have no action. 
If one circuit is overloaded, the potential falls and the automatic regulator increases the 
magnetic field of the machine, so that it acts as a secondary generator, being driven by 
the two other machines acting as motors. Thus, in Buffalo two distinct networks of 
four conductors are supplied. These give in each network two circuits of 2,500 volts, 
one of 500 volts, and a neutral wire. 

The efficiency of the generating dynamos is 95 per cent. The loss in the network in 
Cataract City is 1.7 per cent. The efficiency of the motors may be taken at 80 per cent. 
Hence the resultant efficiency of the system is 84 per cent. 

The efficiency in the Buffalo distribution, allowing for the loss in the compensating 
groups, is estimated at 79 per cent. 

The annual cost is estimated as follows : For Cataract City the cost of the excavations, 
tail-race and turbines, allowing for interest, depreciation and supervision, comes to $5.76 
per effective horse-power per annum. The electric plant and conductors, with similar 



allowance for interest, depreciation and supervision, cost $4.12 per effective horse- 
power per annum. Hence, the total cost is $9.88 per effective horse-power distributed 
per annum. 

For Buffalo the cost comes to $12.70 per effective horse-power distributed per annum. 

It should be stated that the project of Messrs. Cuenod, Sautter & Co. and Messrs. 
Faesch & Piccard is elaborated with great care. The memoir is carefully reasoned, the 
drawings are complete, even as to details. The Commission approved of the hydraulic 
arrangements, giving the preference to the vertical arrangement. They noted especially 
the excellence of the governor for regulating the turbines, which has proved to be 
thoroughly efficient in practice, and the system of using a fly-wheel to moderate the 
rate of change of speed and give time for the action of the regulating sluices. On the 
other hand, they were not of opinion that a case had been made out for so wide a 
departure from well-known and well-tried forms in the dynamo proposed, and they did 
not consider that the mode of carrying the conductors of the distribution circuits had 
been sufficiently studied. 

II. Project of Professor Vigreux and M. Leon Levy, of Paris. 

These competitors submitted a very elaborate memoir and very complete portfolio of 
drawings. The dynamos proposed being of.2,500 horse-power, the machinery is arranged 
in groups of four dynamos, driven by turbines of 10,000 total horse-power. 

Hydraulic Machinery. Design A. Group of four axial-flow pressure turbines of 
2,500 horse-power each. The turbines have horizontal axes, and are coupled in pairs to 
balance the axial water pressure, and driving a dynamo on either side at 300 revolutions. 
There are thus altogether four turbines and four dynamos in underground chambers. 
The turbines have suction pipes, and their efficiency in ordinary work is reckoned at 
70 per cent. A short supply pipe 8' 6" in diameter, leading from a vertical rock shaft, 
feeds the group of turbines. 

Design B. Group of two inward-flow pressure turbines of 5,000 horse-power each, 
with horizontal axis, each turbine driving a dynamo on either side. The other arrange- 
ments are similar to those of the axial-flow turbine. The flow being radial, each turbine 
can be constructed so that the water pressures are balanced, and the inward-flow 
turbine has the advantage of greater steadiness of speed. 

Design C. Group of four outward-flow pressure turbines placed opposite in pairs, 
but not coupled axially. Efficiency the same and supply arrangements similar to those 
in the preceding designs. 

For all these systems of turbines, relay governors are provided. An ordinary pendulum 
governor acts on the distributing valve of an hydraulic cylinder worked by the pressure 
of the head which drives the turbines. The piston is fixed and the cylinder moves under 
the action of water admitted by the distributing valve to either end. A rack on the 
cylinder, acting on a toothed sector, rotates an ordinary disc or throttle-valve in the 
turbine supply-pipe. It may in passing be doubted whether an enormous disc valve of 
the kind here shown is really safe, and also that such a valve is far from being a balanced 
valve. The force required to move it would be very considerable with the high velocities 
which Professor Vigreux and M. Levy allow in the supply-pipes. 

For 120,000 horse-power, 12 groups of turbines of either of the types described are 
required. Eleven of these are allotted to the production of a high-tension current and 



one to produce a low-tension current for lighting the works, for exciting the field 
magnets of the other dynamos and for other subsidiary purposes. Two reserve groups 
are also proposed, one for high tension, one for low tension, in case of accident to any 
other group. 

The head-race has a lateral bay to each of the fourteen vertical water shafts, and this 
is provided with strainer and sluices. The sluices consist of a series of butterfly valves 
in a vertical frame, and arrangements are provided for working these by hand winches 
or by a small electric motor. 

Organization of the Works. The works are excavated in the rock, and comprise a 
gallery 868 feet in length by 112 feet in width, divided longitudinally into three bays 
by two parallel rows of piers. The roof of the gallery is formed by segmental vaulting. 
The center bay contains the turbines and shafts to the tail-race, to discharge water if an 
accident happens. Each lateral bay contains 28 dynamos. Service shafts, 18 feet in 
diameter, with electric lifts, are provided. There are ventilating shafts, and a special 
shaft for the electric cables. The ventilating fan is driven by an electric motor, and is 
capable of completely changing the air in the galleries in two hours. A tram line circu- 
lates round the dynamo galleries, and each gallery is provided with electric traveling- 
cranes. Continuous lubrication is provided for by oil pumps, worked by power. The 
galleries are nearly the same whichever of the three types of turbine is adopted, but the 
inward-flow turbines have the advantage of some economy of cost ; the outward-flow the 
advantage that each turbine and dynamo is independent of the others in the group. 

The cost of an effective horse-power, obtained on the turbine shaft, allowing interest, 
cost of excavation, and machinery, etc., depreciation and supervision, is estimated at 
$3 per annum. 

The Electrical Arrangements. Continuous current is selected as alone answering the 
various requirements of lighting and power, and permitting the use of accumulators. 
The highest potential is fixed at 5,000 volts. Greater tensions were actually used in the 
Creil experiments, but the tension selected is judged to be safer and more practical by 
M. Levy. 

The dynamos of the generating station are divided into groups, according to the 
different localities to be served, and those of each group coupled in quantity. Anv 
dynamo, however, can be placed on any service. 

Each group is connected to the district served by virtually a single conductor, with 
a return conductor. Thus for Buffalo there may be several cables, but these would be 
combined so as to form a single conductor to, and retui'n conductor from, Buffalo. The 
advantage is that the conductor can be increased at any time without disturbing any of 
the established distributing arrangements. 

At the district served the conductor will branch into as many conductors as there are 
receiving and transforming stations. The potential being kept constant at the regulating 
point from which the conductors branch, each station will be independent, and regulate 
itself according to its requirements. A control line of telegraph wire from the regulating 
point to the generating station allows the potential to be known, and the generating 
dynamos to be regulated as required. 

The efficiency of the line to Buffalo is fixed at 85 per cent., so that the potential 
at the regulating point in Buffalo would be 4,250 volts. The efficiency of the whole 



electric system to Buffalo is estimated at 68.85 per cent, for high-tension currents, 
and 62 per cent, if the current is transformed to a low-tension current. For Cataract 
City the efficiency would be higher, probably 72 to 76 per cent. The advantage of the 
system adopted is, that the operations of distribution are identical with those now 
employed for low-tension currents. 

Dynamos. These are of 2,500 horse-power, 330 amperes and 5,000 volts. This 
moderate power facilities the adjustment of the plant to work in different localities 
during the progressive growth of the installation. The machine has two armatures of 
the Gramme ring type, because it is difficult to obtain more than 3,000 volts with one 
ring. The dynamo is multipolar, with six field magnets, and excited by a separate low- 
tension current. The mechanical construction is stated to be simple and easy to execute ; 
no cast-iron is used on moving parts, and the machine easily divides for inspection. 

Four similar machines, differently wound, are allotted to provide the exciting current 
at 500 volts. In connection with the exciting current it is proposed to use accumulators 
as an adjunct. 

A liquid rheostat is employed to close or open the circuits. 

The switchboards and the safety, regulating and other contrivances are fully de- 
scribed in M. Levy's memoir. 

Primary Distributing Conductors. The distribution to Buffalo is taken as a type 
of the methods to be adopted. Insulated cables are rejected as too costly, and as im- 
perfectly insuring safety. Naked copper on insulators is selected, carried overhead where 
that is possible, and in culverts where necessary. For Buffalo, five bars, each 4.6 square 
inches in section, form the outgoing, and a similar number the return line. These are 
carried on porcelain insulators. Flexible strips at intervals permit expansion. Culverts 
would be of concrete. 

For the overhead conductors a novel arrangement is proposed. Four lines of iron- 
braced girders of 100 yards span are used, carried on trestles. Each girder acts 
both as support and conductor. The girder is equivalent in conductivity to one copper 
strip. Three copper strips are placed on it. The successive girders are connected by 
arched copper strips, permitting expansion. Each girder end rests on a wood block, 
supported by four porcelain insulators. These rest in a cup containing petroleum. 

For a short transmission from the generating works overhead insulated cables may 
be used. 

Receiving Dynamos or Motors. These are similar in construction to the generating 
dynamos ; a liquid rheostat is used for making and breaking circuit. A separate exciting 
machine, driven by the receiving machine, is used. For starting, the current will be 
obtained from accumulators. 

Transforming Machines. A receiving machine drives a dynamo at low tension. The 
machines are similar, but with different winding. Raffard's coupling is used for powers 
not exceeding 200 horse-power. Any mode of distribution may be adopted for the low- 
tension current. With good machines in full work the efficiency of a transforming group 
may be 80 per cent. In the least favorable case it is 65 per cent. 

Another mode of transformation is to charge accumulators in series, and discharge 
them separately. M. Levy believes accumulators to be efficient, practical and economical. 



The total cost per effective horse-power distributed, including interest on tunnel, 
excavation, hydraulic and electric plant, depreciation and supervision, is estimated at 
$23.60 per annum. 

The Commission were not generally in favor of the underground position of the 
dynamos proposed. Consequently both the turbines and dynamos, with horizontal axes, 
should in their view be replaced by a different arrangement. The system of overhead 
conductors to Buffalo did not seem to them a desirable one, and they doubted the 
advisability of using accumulator batteries to excite the field magnets. 

III. Project of M. Hillairet and M. Bouvier, of Paris. 

This is a complete project for hydraulic utilization and electrical distribution of 
125,000 horse-power, with a very careful memoir and very beautiful and detailed 

Hydraulic Machines. Thirteen turbines of 10,000 horse-power each are proposed, 
each working a single dynamo placed above-ground. The turbines have vertical shafts 
driving the dynamos directly. The turbines are impulse turbines with partial admission ; 
consequently suction pipes cannot be used, and a portion of the fall below the turbines 
is necessarily wasted. They are arranged for the exceptionally low speed of 80 revolu- 
tions per minute. For each turbine two vertical shafts are sunk through the rock, one 
serving as a supply pipe and the other as a shaft for access and containing the turbine 
driving shaft. The head-race is also separated into separate channels, one to each 

The object is to facilitate progressive development of the power and to secure in- 
dependence of each turbine. Strainers and sluices, and somewhat elaborate arrange- 
ments for cleaning the strainers and removing the rubbish, are provided. The turbine 
shaft is made hollow, with solid steel journals at intervals. The weight is supported on a 
pivot partly on an hydraulic piston. The turbine is entirely constructed of steel plates 
and wrought iron. The turbine is regulated by a series of small sluices closing suc- 
cessively the guide blade channels, a method conducing to efficiency when the turbine 
is not working at full power. In the present case that is not a matter of much im- 
portance, but no doubt in other respects this mode of regulation has advantages. The 
regulating sluices to the guide blades are driven by small special turbines. The shaft 
journals are continuously lubricated by oil pumps. 

Electrical Arrangements. The dynamos are all identical, and can be disposed to 
supply either Buffalo or Cataract City. The dynamos of 10,000 horse-power are placed 
above-ground, the excavation being reduced to a minimum, and the plan of subterranean 
galleries is rejected. Calculation shows, in M. Hillairet's opinion, that the plan of 
turbines with vertical shafts is safe and economical. 

The method of distribution is different in Cataract City from that in Buffalo. In 
Cataract City the receiving motors are in parallel arc, in Buffalo in series, each taking 
the total current. The generating dynamos are in series, a variable number supplying 
Buffalo, according to requirement, and a fixed number Cataract City. The receiving 
motors transform energy at high potential into energy at a potential convenient for 
distribution in a restricted area. 

Each dynamo gives a maximum difference of potential at the terminals of 1,000 volts 
and an intensity of 7,000 amperes. So large a dynamo could not be constructed witli an 



armature having an iron core. But it is possible if the armature circuits are purely 
electro-dynamic. The dynamo has 16 field magnets, in four groups of four, constituting 
a dynamo of eight poles. The armature consists of vertical laminae disposed as gener- 
ators of a cylindrical surface, concentric with the axis of rotation. They are fixed by 
insulated bolts to a disc or wheel, and have a velocity of 98 feet per second. Ordinary 
materials so placed would be incapable of resisting the centrifugal force, and M. 
Hillairet proposes to use aluminum bronze with a density less than three, and which 
having to resist a stress not exceeding 5,000 pounds per square inch has an ultimate 
strength of 37,000 pounds per square inch. The field magnets are of cast-iron, with 
pyramidal pole pieces of wrought-iron, having poles much smaller than the body of the 
magnets. There are 32 brushes connected in series, and therefore, each conducting 
the total current. 

Motor Transformers at Buffalo. M. Hillairet does not consider it prudent or 
practical to work private installations at the full potential of the line to Buffalo. Hence 
the energy distributed must be transformed to a lower potential. The type of receiving 
machine chosen is of 2,000 horse-power taking a current of 7,000 amperes and acting 
with a difference of potential of 200 volts at its terminals. The axis is horizontal. The 
armature is similar to that described above. The speed, 300 revolutions. There are four 
poles or four fields of induction. This motor might drive a low-tension dynamo, but a 
simplification is possible. When the induced bars of the armature pass through a polar 
interval they are inactive. They are out of circuit for about a quarter of a turn. If 
between the four groups of field magnets four other inductors are placed, excited by 
the total current, the armature bars will suffer an induction as they pass. By adding 
new polar pieces and brushes connected in series a complete circuit is established, in 
which an electromotive force is generated which can be utilized for distribution. To 
secure constancy of potential a centrifugal governor is used which, acting on a variable 
shunt, modifies the field of the primary circuit if the speed varies. Such a solution would 
be impossible with ordinary machines with magnetic material in the armature. The 
motive and resisting efforts in the motor transformer proposed are confined to the 
periphery of the armature and produce no torque on the shaft. It is proposed to make 
the field magnets of soft cast-steel, as cast-iron field magnets would have occupied too 
much space. 

Mains to Buffalo. The conductors are to be copper, in culverts. Four bars are 
required for Buffalo, connected in pairs in quantity and forming an outgoing and return 
conductor, each of 7% square inches in section. These are carried on porcelain 

Distribtition in Cataract City. The problem is to supply a large number of motors, 
the work of which varies, and which are of comparatively small power. Below 1,000 
horse-power the type of dynamo described above is abandoned, and the machines 
ordinarily used for continuous currents adopted. For two miles round the generating 
station the current would be distributed directly to motors of not less than 25 horse- 
power at a tension at the terminals not exceeding 1,000 volts. Between two miles and 
four miles the current from two dynamos in series would be distributed to motors of 
not less than 50 horse-power with a tension of 2,000 volts at the terminals of the 



distribution. For smaller motors, motor transformers would be established at various 
points of 300 horse-power, giving currents of 100 or 200 volts. 

The electric mains would be subterranean wherever possible. Aerial distribution would 
only be adopted very exceptionally. All distributing centers would be connected 
telephonically with the generating station. 

The Commission considered that there was much of high merit in the hydraulic part 
of M. M. Hillairet & Bouvier's project. But they thought the regulating sluices of the 
turbine too complicated and the turbine itself built up of too many pieces. They objected 
to the tubular shaft with intermediate solid journals, and considered objectionable the 
adoption of a type of turbine with partial admission, and therefore without suction 
pipes, involving a loss of head. 

The most interesting point in this turbine is its low speed rotation. But they were 
of opinion that it should not be supposed that any limitation of absolute or rotational 
speed is required on account of electrical conditions. With respect to the peculiar 
dynamo adopted they thought that a necessity had not been established for so great a 
departure from ordinary types. 

IV. Project of M. Victor Popp, of Paris, and Professor A. Riedler, of Berlin. 

This is a project for the utilization of the water-power by turbines and its trans- 
mission by compressed air. Since the greatest doubt would attach, in such a project, to 
the question of the transmission by compressed air to so great a distance as Buffalo, or, 
at the least, it is in the proposal to use compressed air for transmission to so great a 
distance that past experience is chiefly overstepped, M. Popp and Professor Riedler have 
chiefly applied themselves to the explanation of this part of the Niagara problem. It 
may be conceded at once that compressed air has this advantage that, supposing it 
possible to convey it from Niagara to Buffalo without too great cost or loss, then it 
could be used at once in place of steam in existing motors with the minimum of distur- 
bance of existing plant. The project is based partly on experience gained in working 
the compressed-air plant in Paris, partly on special experiments carried out by Pro- 
fessor Riedler. 

M. Popp and Professor Riedler insist strenuously on this point — that a compressed- 
air scheme of transmission can be based absolutely on experience. Nothing need be new 
or untried in the machinery, or even of exceptional dimensions. As to the air main, its 
construction involves well-known expedients only, and its efficiency can be estimated 
from accurately-observed data. On the other hand, they contend that at present any 
electrical scheme of this magnitude must involve large elements of uncertainty, both 
as to efficiency and cost. 

They claim that their project is in accordance with the following statement : 

(1) One effective horse-power at the central station is assumed to compress 380 cubic 
feet of air per hour to 120 pounds per square inch (above atmospheric pressure). In 
Paris as much as 425 cubic feet per hour have been so compressed per horse-power, even 
with imperfect engines. 

(2) It is proposed only to use moderate pressures of six or eight atmospheres, 
although pressures up to thirty to fifty atmospheres have been practically used. 



(3) The estimate of the loss in the Buffalo main is based on data obtained in the 
complicated and imperfect mains of Paris, although there are causes of loss in the latter 
case which would be absent in the former. 

(4) The consumption of air in the engines at Buffalo is assumed to be the same as in 
old steam-engines in Paris, and no allowance is made for the economy which would result 
from using more perfect appliances. 

(5) The cost is estimated on a sound commercial basis. 

Turbines and Compressors for 5,000 Horse-power. The most advantageous unit of 
power, permitting gradual extension, is taken to be 5,000 horse-power. Underground 
compressors permit the simplest arrangement, and are least costly. Compressors above- 
ground are more accessible and can be better attended to. 

For air compressors, piston speeds up to 1,000 feet per minute are unobjectionable. 
But the number of rotations should not much exceed 80 per minute; in air compressors 
with slide valves 150 revolutions per minute might be obtained. But to secure trust- 
worthiness, M. Popp and Professor Riedler prefer 80 revolutions, both for compressors 
and turbines. Each turbine shaft drives a compressor having two low-pressure and one 
high-pressure cylinder. Such compressors would be smaller than many existing blowing 
engines working at the same pressures. 

For projects A and C, turbines of Messrs. Rieter, of Winterthur, are adopted. 
The turbines are simple and accessible for repair. They are axial-flow pressure tur- 
bines (with suction pipes) of 5,000 horse-power each, arranged with a horizontal shaft 
in Project A, and a vertical shaft in Project C; the vertical shaft is hollow, and its 
weight is balanced by the pressure on a piston formed in the turbine case. The turbines 
are of a diameter less than that for which the efficiency would be greatest. Hence the 
efficiency is assumed at 60 per cent. only. Each turbine is controlled by a disc throttle 
valve and relay governor. 

For Project B an outward-flow pressure turbine, with vertical axis, designed by 
Messrs. Nagel & Kaemp, of Hamburg, is adopted. The water enters the turbine below, 
and its upward pressure balances weight of turbine and shaft, without any special device. 
The turbines are so placed as not to require suction pipes. The same turbines, but with 
horizontal axis, are shown driving high-speed compressors. 

For supplying water to the turbines vertical rock shafts are proposed, and by 
preference one water shaft should supply two turbines. A group of five 5,000 horse- 
power turbines is proposed, with two smaller auxiliary turbines of 2,000 horse-power. 
The large turbines would not be worked below 3,000 horse-power. The regulation would 
thus be more efficient. The small turbines would be regulated automatically by the 
pressure in the air main. 

Project A. Rieter Turbines, with Horizontal Axis and Underground Compressors 
at 80 revolutions. Turbines in pairs in a rock gallery 53 feet wide. Horizontal turbine 
shaft prolonged either way to form a three-throw crank shaft driving three compressing 
cylinders. The compressors are Riedler compressors with controlled valves. 

Project B. Nagel cy Kaemp Turbines, with Underground Compressors at 150 
revolutions. The compressors have oscillating slide valves, the suction and delivery 
valves separate with positive gearing. M. Popp and Professor Riedler consider Project A 



preferable, the efficiency in Project B not being much greater, the expense not much 
less, and the wear and tear more serious. 

Project C. Nagel Sf Kaemp Turbines and Overground Compressors at 80 revolu- 
tions. Three turbines are supplied from one vertical water shaft. The vertical turbine 
shaft is coupled to a two-throw crank shaft. Two compressor cylinders are placed below, 
driven from one crank-pin, and another above. The driving is virtually the same as 
with three cranks at 120°. A small fly-wheel is used, 8I/0 tons weight. 

Project D. A similar arrangement with Rieter turbines. 

Air Main to Buffalo. An opinion is expressed, based on Paris experience, that no air 
reservoir is required. The pressure of compression is assumed at eight atmospheres, 
giving six atmospheres in Buffalo, so that air engines will work under the same con- 
ditions as in Paris. Messrs. Popp and Riedler give details of a series of experiments on 
the leakage and resistance of the Paris mains, on which they base their calculations of 
the size and loss of pressure in the main to Buffalo. They believe that the loss by leakage 
may be guaranteed not to exceed 2 per cent. It is not clear what is the length of main to 
which this estimate applies. They assume the frictional resistance at 1.2 pounds per 
square inch, per mile of main, with a mean velocity of the air of 34 feet per second. 

Thus if 25,000 horse-power is transmitted to Buffalo by air compressed at Niagara 
to 114 pounds per square inch, giving 88 pounds per square inch at Buffalo, through 
two mains, two and one-half feet in diameter, they estimate the loss due to friction at 
11 per cent, of the power developed at Niagara. 

If 75,000 horse-power is transmitted to Buffalo by air compressed initially to 199 
pounds, giving 110 pounds per squai-e inch in Buffalo, they estimate the frictional loss 
in the same mains at 183/0 per cent, of the power developed at Niagara. The mains need 
only be one-quarter inch thick. 

Supposing the same mains increased to three-eighths inch thick, then they estimate 
that 125,000 horse-power could be transmitted to Buffalo, the air having an initial 
pressure of 285 pounds per square inch, a pressure at Buffalo of 175 pounds per square 
inch, and a mean velocity of 55 feet per second. They point out that the amount of 
power transmitted could thus be increased from 25,000 to 125,000 horse-power without 
alteration of the mains. For the higher pressures, however, a fourth compi-essing 
cylinder would have to be added to the compressors. 

If a higher pressure is chosen then the cost of installation can be diminished. They 
estimate that, with an initial pressure of 426 pounds per square inch at Niagara, and a 
double main of only one foot diameter, 25,000 horse-power can be transmitted to Buffalo 
with a loss of 200 pounds per square inch. A series of detailed calculations of different 
mains are given. 

Compressors. In the memoir of M. Popp and Professor Riedler a careful examina- 
tion is made of the efficiency of compressors, and the results of experiments on various 
compressors at Paris are given. It is well known that in many cases the efficiency 
of compressors is low. In some mining installations the waste of work in the compressor 
amounts to four-fifths of the energy expended. This loss is chiefly due to useless heating 
of the air. Experiments on several of the compressors at Paris showed that the work 
wasted amounted to 40 to 100 per cent, of the useful work done ; or to put it in the more 
usual way, the ratio of useful work of compression to work expended was only 71 to 50 



per cent. The later compressors at Paris have been on the Riedler system, with two-stage 
compression and controlled valves. With the compressors previously in use, from 261 
to 305 cubic feet of air were compressed to six atmospheres per indicated horse-power 
per hour. With the new Riedler compressors 354 to 384 cubic feet were similarly com- 
pressed per indicated horse-power per hour.* 

Utilization of the Compressed Air. Compressed air may be applied to lifting loads, 
forcing liquids, transporting grain or sand. For lifts it may be used acting on a water 
column. Air motors are in use in Paris, of power ranging from one-eighth horse-power 
to 150 horse-power. The expense of installation of an air motor is about two-thirds of 
that of a steam-engine and boiler. All existing engines can be transformed into air 
engines almost without alteration, and without interrupting the ordinary service. Old 
steam-engines are working in Paris with a consumption of 450 cubic feet of air per 
hour, at five atmospheres per effective horse-power. 

Taking the efficiency of the compressors to be such that they give 380 cubic feet at 
eight atmospheres per effective horse-power per hour, the combined efficiency of com- 
pressors and motors is estimated at 85 per cent., every loss from Niagara to Buffalo 

By reheating the air before use a further advantage is gained, and it is stated that 
the heat so expended is applied five times more efficiently than if used in generating steam. 

Cost of an Effective Horse-power in Buffalo. Taking a 25,000 horse-power plant, 
and assuming a loss by leakage of 5 per cent., and that 380 cubic feet compressed 
require one horse-power at Niagara and 450 cubic feet give one horse-power at Buffalo, 
then 25,000 horse-power at Niagara will give 20,000 effective horse-power in Buffalo. 
Each horse-power then is estimated to cost $6.50 per annum in Buffalo, or, allowing for 
depreciation, $12.05. With a larger transmission the cost per horse-power would be less. 

Apparently the estimate above does not include interest on cost of installation. If 
5 per cent, is allowed as interest, then the cost per horse-power distributed in Buffalo, 
allowing for interest, depreciation and supervision, is $31.25 per annum. 

The project of Messrs. Popp and Riedler is very carefully studied. Their claim, 
so far as it has anything of novelty, rests chiefly on the assumptions that a much higher 
efficiency can be obtained in compressors than has been usual hitherto, and that the 
loss in the mains is less than it has generally been estimated. As to the compressors, 
there is no doubt that the two-stage compi-ession, with intermediate cooling between 
low and high-pressure cylinders does secure a very high efficiency, and the special 
controlled valves of Professor Riedler are excellent in diminishing the loss of work due 
to ordinary valves and securing perfect quietness of action. As to the loss in the mains, 
it should be pointed out that the special researches in Paris are of the highest value as 
an addition to the scientific knowledge of air friction. For pressures not exceeding those 
in Paris the estimate of the frictional loss cannot be much in error, and, indeed, does not 
differ much from an estimate based on earlier experiments. In deducing the friction at 
higher pressures, Messi-s. Riedler and Popp have no equally satisfactory experimental 
basis, and the friction at these higher pressures will probably be greater than they have 

* The volumes mentioned throughout this account of Popp and Riedler's project are all reckoned at 
atmospheric pressure. 



The Commission greatly approved of the turbines and compressors shown in this 
project, though they considered that the efficiency of the turbines, which are not run at 
the best speed, would be somewhat less than that assumed. This is not vei'y important 
at Niagara. The Commission disapproved of the unlined vertical rock shafts for con- 
veying water to the turbines. Of the different arrangements shown, they preferred the 
one with vertical axes to the turbines and compressors above-ground. 

V. Project of G. F. Deacox, Esq., M. I. C. E., and Messrs. Siemens Brothers & Co., 
of London. 

This is a project for the utilization of 125,000 horse-power by turbines, and its 
distribution electrically by continuous current, the dynamos being worked at constant 
current with varying speed and potential. Dynamos and turbines are underground in 
a rock gallery. 

Hydraidic Arrangements. The water is conveyed in a surface canal, entering the 
canal from the river over a weir. Strainers and a traveling-crane to lift them for clean- 
ing are provided. Directly from the bottom of the canal vertical shafts convey water to 
a group of turbines of 30,000 horse-power. As the mouths of these shafts are below the 
water, they are intended to be closed, when necessary, by a cylindrical floating caisson 
gate, or valve. This is of steel, and can be lifted out of the water by a traveling-crane. 
The caisson is sunk by admitting water. The rock shafts are twenty feet in diameter, 
lined, where necessary, with Portland cement concrete. 

From each shaft the water is distributed to a group of twelve turbines. A horizontal 
tunnel leads each way from the bottom of the vertical shaft, and twelve iron supply 
pipes lead to the turbines. 

The turbines are inward-flow pressure turbines, of 2,500 horse-power each, with 
horizontal axis and suction pipes. This is a form of turbine having great steadiness 
of speed. No regulating apparatus is used in the turbine, as it is considered that 
efficiency, except at full power, is of no importance at Niagara. The speed is regulated 
by a sluice valve in the supply pipe, running on rollers, which diminishes the effective 
head, and, with this, the rate of discharge through the turbine. The turbine wheels are 
six feet in diameter, and a speed of 195 revolutions per minute. The turbines and 
dynamos are placed in two rock galleries, 780 feet in length, connected by cross 
galleries. Two vertical access shafts are provided. The main galleries are fourteen 
feet wide and twenty-six feet in height, being very much smaller than in some of the 
projects. Each gallery has three electric traveling-cranes. It is suggested that auto- 
matic self-closing valves may be used on the supply pipes, to provide against accident. 

Electric Arrangements. To each turbine a dynamo is rigidly connected, without any 
coupling. The dynamos have ring armatures, and the electromagnet bobbins are 
wound in series with the armatures. Each dynamo gives a constant current of 400 
amperes, with a potential depending on the speed. At 195 revolutions the potential 
would be 4,500 volts. One switchboard is provided for each group of twelve dynamos, 
and to the switchboards ten mains are connected. There are appliances to connect any 
dynamo to any main; any two dynamos in series to any main; any two or more mains 
in series to any one or two dynamos in series. The fifty mains from the five switchboards 
are connected to a general switchboard above-ground, from which forty trunk mains 



Distributing Mains. These would be placed underground. They consist of one-half 
square inch of copper insulated for 9,000 volts. 

The mode of working is this: One generator is started with voltage sufficient to 
send the full current of 400 amperes through the mains. Its speed is increased as the 
resistance increases till it has reached full speed. Then a second generator is started 
and run on closed circuit till the current is 400 amperes ; it is then coupled to the trunk 
main and its speed increased with the load as before. The highest potential will only be 
used when the generators are working at maximum output. There is the same loss in the 
mains at all loads, but this is unimportant at Niagara. At full load the efficiency is 
greater than with the parallel system. There is no difficulty in constructing motors for 
400 amperes. For electric lighting a low tension current at 120 or 130 volts would 
be obtained by dynamo motor transformers. These would feed a network of mains in the 
usual way. 

Calculation shows, in Messrs. Siemens' opinion, that there is a gain of 10 per cent, 
of economy in the series system they propose over the parallel system with motor 
transformers, when working with full load. 

The motors are series wound and worked with constant current. They are regulated 
by varying the field by partly short circuiting the electromagnet coils by means of a 
centrifugal governor. 

Cost and Working Expenses. For Cataract City the cost, including working ex- 
penses, depreciation and interest on capital, is estimated at $12.75 per effective horse- 
power per annum distributed. For Buffalo the corresponding cost is estimated at $23.05 
per horse-power per annum. 

The Commission recognized the great originality and practical importance of the 
proposal of Messrs. Siemens to work with constant current and varying potential. But 
they thought that the method of working on the system of parallel conductors with 
approximately constant potential was preferable for many reasons. 

VI. Project of Mr. H. D. Pearsall, of Orpington, England. 

This is a project for directly using the pressure of the head to compress air, and 
includes a general statement of a proposed mode of distribution. The water is ad- 
mitted to a series of vertical cylinders, successively compressing the air in them till 
it escapes through a series of valves into the mains ; the cylinders then discharge the 
water and refill with air. A canal takes the water from the river and culverts, and iron 
pipes lead the water to the compressing engines. These are placed on three tiers, each 
tier using about one-third of the total head. 

The peculiarity of Mr. Pearsall's arrangement is the mechanical control of the valves 
by small special air motors. Mr. Pearsall claims, and no doubt rightly, that the water 
column and large, wet metal surfaces cool the air very effectively during compression. 
Mr. Pearsall allows a maximum velocity of 40 feet per second to the water in the main 
entering the compressing cylinder, the main being 5l/> feet in diameter, and he assumes 
that the column is brought steadily and without shock to rest by the increasing air 
pressure. He calculates the time of one complete stroke at 4.7 seconds. From this he 
calculates that each compressing cylinder will compress 13,773 cubic feet of air per 
minute, and at the same time deliver 32 cubic feet of water under the same pressure, 
which can be used in special mains as a town water supply. Mr. Pearsall calculates 



the mean effective pressure of the air during compression at 37 pounds per square 
inch, and the final at 150 pounds per square inch, in which case each engine will work 
to 2,224 horse-power, and on an equally theoretical basis he estimates the efficiency 
at 73.6 per cent. 

The total plant consists of 63 compressing engines for 125,000 horse-power. 

The whole of the engines are placed in an enormous pit or open excavation carried 
down nearly to the level of the tail-water. 

Three mains are proposed connected by cross mains. The air mains to Cataract 
City are 2 feet 10 inches in diameter for a mile, diminishing afterwards. The mains 
are laid in a trench covered with concrete slabs. 

For the pressure water there are two mains 30 inches in diameter, diminishing gradu- 
ally to 22 inches. 

A Venturi meter, schemed on principles similar to those applied by Mr. Herschel, 
is proposed for measuring the air used by motors. 

For transmission to Buffalo a loss of pressure of 25 per cent, is allowed. Three 
mains of 2 feet 10 inches in diameter are required. For pressure water, which it is 
also proposed to carry to Buffalo, two 30-inch mains are required. These mains are to 
be laid in filled-up trenches. 

Two very small compressing engines of the type proposed have been constructed 
and worked. One of these was about 3 horse-power, the other about 5 to 6 horse-power. 
A third has recently been constructed of about 10 horse-power. 

The Commission thought that it might be useful to experiment with a compressing 
engine of this type, but they noted that Mr. Pearsall's project is based throughout 
on conjectural estimates of the action of the water and on untried designs of valves 
and other auxiliary apparatus. 

VII. Project of Professor Ahnold Lupton, of Leeds, and John Sturgeon, Esq., 
of Chester. 

This is a complete project for utilizing the power of Niagara by turbines driving 
single-acting compressors of the type used in the Birmingham installation. As at 
Birmingham, a moderate air pressure is proposed. Cataract Cuy and Buffalo are not 
dealt with separately. The air main is designed to carry the whole 125,000 horse-power, 
under the idea that factories requiring power would come into existence along the line 
of main. 

Messrs. Lupton and Sturgeon state at some length the special advantages of an air 
transmission scheme. Compressed air can be used in existing ordinary steam-engines, 
for driving steam-hammers, or small special domestic motors. It can be applied in 
ventilating, exhausting or refrigerating. It can be used for cupolas and furnaces, 
the pressure being adjusted by induction nozzles. Air motors may be used for driving 
dynamos for electric lighting and for working tram-cars. It can also be used for ware- 
house hoists and hotel lifts. The use of compressed air would lead to an abatement 
of the smoke nuisance. There is nothing doubtful or experimental about a scheme of 
distributing power by compressed air. 

Of 120,000 horse-power on the turbine shafts, Messrs. Lupton and Sturgeon estimate 
that 70,000, or 58.3 per cent., could be distributed and sold to consumers. If the air 



is reheated before use the efficiency is greater. They ascertained that the cost of steam 
power at Buffalo ranges from $40 to $150 per horse-power per annum. 

At Birmingham manufacturers are willing to pay for compressed air prices equiva- 
lent to $40 to $125 per horse-power per year of 2,700 hours. 

In Paris the prices are higher. Looking at the price of coal in Buffalo compared 
with that in Birmingham, the manufacturers would probably be willing to pay $60 to 
$185 per horse-power per year of 2,700 hours. 

Now apart from interest on capital, Messrs. Lupton and Sturgeon estimate that 
air power can be supplied in Buffalo at $7 per horse-power per annum. 

Hydraulic Arrangements. A canal takes the water from the river, provided with ice 
fender and sluices which will cut off the water supply entirely if repairs are needed. 

Eight branch canals on one side and nine on the other lead to the turbines of the air- 
compressors. At the furthest and narrowest end of the canal arrangements are made for 
an electric lighting station, driven by turbines. Each branch canal is provided with 
Stoney's frictionless sluices, similar to those used on the Manchester canal. 

The turbine pits are arranged in blocks of 5,000 horse-power, one inlet from the 
main canal serving two blocks, or altogether 10,000 horse-power. Thirty-four turbines 
drive the air-compressors and one the electric-lighting plant. The vertical supply 
shafts to the turbines are 12 feet diameter. 

The turbines are inward-flow pressure turbines. The action of the water on the 
turbines being radial, it is a balanced action. Each turbine is of 3,750 effective horse- 
power. The wheel is 8 feet diameter and makes 140 revolutions per minute. There are 
suction pipes to utilize the fall below the turbines. The water pressure is taken to the 
underside of the wheel, which is constructed to form a kind of hydraulic piston, and 
this pressure can support a load of 80 tons, more than enough to carry the weight of 
turbine and shaft. A cast-iron hollow shaft is proposed. The shaft is to run in bearings 
with lignum-vitae steps. A cylindrical regulating sluice can be worked from above- 

Gearing. To drive the horizontal crank shaft of the air-compressors at 80 revolu- 
tions from the vertical turbine shaft running at 140 revolutions, steel bevel wheels are 

Air Compressors. Each turbine drives eight single-acting vertical compressors 43 
inches diameter and 48 inches stroke. At full speed each cylinder will deliver 500 cubic 
feet of cold air at 5% atmospheres (671/2 pounds per square inch) pressure. The inlet 
valves are in the compressing piston and the delivery valves in the cylinder cover. Water 
is circulated through the piston and surrounds the compressing cylinder. Spray in- 
jection will be used, if found necessary. The compressors are placed in an excavation 
just below ground surface. This gives good foundation and permits the supply water 
to the turbines to circulate round the compressor cylinders. An engine-house is erected 
over the compressors, with a 10-ton traveling-crane. A small special electric plant for 
lighting the engine-houses is provided. 

Altogether 34 sets of compressing cylinders, 8 cylinders in each, are provided, two 
sets being ordinarily held in reserve, or 256 cylinders in all. They are intended to deliver 
128,000 cubic feet of cold air at 51/4 atmospheres per minute. 



Air Mains. The air is convej-ed by branch pipes (with stop valves) to a large air 
main. Expansion joints are introduced at each junction. The air main increases in 
diameter till it reaches 10 feet in diameter. It is proposed to take the air main by 
Tonawanda to Buffalo. The diameter will be gradually reduced to 7 feet at Buffalo. 
From Hertel Avenue, in Buffalo, there will branch three principal lines of mains through 
Buffalo, east, center and west, all united by a main traversing the south of the city from 
east to west. Drawings are given showing the proposed construction of these mains. 
The main is so designed that with 5!/o atmospheres at Niagara, there will be 5 atmos- 
pheres of pressure at Buffalo, giving a working pressure of 60 pounds per square inch. 
The question of using a higher pressure has been considered by Messrs. Lupton and 
Sturgeon. But on their method of working they doubt if there would be much economy 
in the cost of the main, and they attach importance to the storage capacity provided 
by the large main. 

It is proposed to construct a tram road, worked by compressed air, over the line of 
main to Buffalo. 

The main would be provided with Stoney roller sluices at every half mile. 
Meters of the type used at Birmingham would be employed to measure the air to 

Electric Lighting Arrangements. Messrs. Lupton and Sturgeon do not see any 
large field for electric lighting at Niagara. They have, therefore, provided only for 
30,000 16-candle power lamps. The dynamos would be worked by four 1,100 horse- 
power turbines, one being in reserve. Each turbine works two dynamos of 500 horse- 
power. The dynamos are alternators at 2,500 volts. Transformers will be used where 

Beyond Cataract City, Messrs. Lupton and Sturgeon think it preferable to drive 
dynamos by compressed-air motors, and not to supply the electricity from a central 
station at Niagara. In Buffalo they think that 24,000 horse-power might be thus 
employed in electric lighting. They would distribute the electricity from four or five 
generating stations at 2,500 volts, transforming to a convenient potential at the 
consumers' premises. Or a low tension system might be used with a larger number of 
stations. One principal reason for preferring to generate electricity by compressed-air 
motors at Buffalo is this : Only in winter will much light be required before 6 p. m. 
By generating the electricity at Buffalo, the cost of canals, turbines, electric plant and 
conductors is saved. The facility of working numerous generating stations by com- 
pressed air is so great that Messrs. Lupton and Sturgeon incline to think that a safe 
and simple low tension system would be preferable to a high tension one, except, perhaps, 
at Cataract City. 

The Commission thought the construction of the turbines, in this project, somewhat 
too complicated, and they objected to the use of the same vertical shaft for conveying 
water to the turbines and for the shaft of the turbine itself. They did not think the 
arguments for the use of single-acting compressors valid, and believed that is was in 
consequence of the inefficiency of the form of compressor adopted that Messrs. Lupton 
and Sturgeon had been driven to use so exceptionally large a main for transmission 
of the compressed air. 



VIII. Project of Messrs. Ganz & Co., of Budapest. 

This is a scheme for utilizing the power by partial-flow impulse turbines of 5,000 
horse-power each. These have vertical axes directly coupled to dynamos of the same 
power, placed above-ground. The electrical part of the scheme is not fully worked out. 

Turbines of less than 5,000 horse-power Messrs. Ganz do not consider practical, 
because the cost of the hydraulic arrangements becomes too great. They are satisfied 
that turbines as large as this can be constructed in a trustworthy manner. Rejecting 
the plan of placing the dynamos underground, no plan of transmitting the power to 
the ground surface appeared to them to be possible except that of a simple vertical 
shaft. The armature of the dynamo is fixed on this shaft, which augments the vertical 
load to be carried. But a special type of bearing which Messrs. Ganz have adopted 
completely meets this difficulty. 

The head-race is provided with twelve sluices, but as these can only be opened or 
closed slowly a cylindrical sluice is only used immediately over each turbine supply 
shaft. The supply shaft is a vertical rock shaft lined with concrete. The turbines are a 
kind of partial-flow impulse turbine which, however, at full power, work as pressure 
turbines, without much loss of efficiency. Hence the fall below the turbines can be 
partly utilized. The vertical shaft is a solid steel shaft, running at 125 revolutions. 
The weight of turbine, shaft and armature is estimated at 125 tons. This is suspended 
from a very ingenious form of bearing, which has been used for similar cases with 
perfect success. It is really a kind of collar bearing, with an arrangement for pumping 
oil between the supporting surfaces, so as to convert it into a fluid bearing. An hydraulic 
piston is also placed in the tail-race below the bottom of the shaft. A timber sluice, 
worked by lvydraulic-pressure cylinder, is placed on the tail-race, so that access may 
be gained to the parts below the turbine. The regulating sluices of the guide passages of 
the turbine are worked by hydraulic cylinders. A centrifugal governor controls the 
action of these regulating sluices. 

Electrical Arrangements. Alternate current (Zippernowsky) dynamos are pro- 
posed, working at 336 amperes at a potential of 10,000 volts. Inside the armature frame 
rotates the field magnet. There are 2,500 complete periods per minute. The exciting 
current is taken from a separate continuous-current exciter driven by bevel wheels from 
the turbine shaft. The exciting current is 335 amperes at 200 volts. 

The motors in the central station for driving the pressure pumps, cranes, etc., are 
continuous-current motors supplied from one of the exciting machines. 

It is proposed to have twelve large alternating generators, ten for ordinary use and 
two in reserve. For coupling one machine in parallel to others already working starting 
resistances are used. For regulating the exciting current resistances are used which for 
large differences of potential are adjusted by hand, but for small differences by an 
automatic equalizer. 

Primary Conductors. These pass by Tonawanda to a distributing station in Buffalo. 
They consist of two sets of twelve uncovered cables, one for outgoing and one for 
return. The total section is 1,848 square mm., which gives 25 per cent, loss in the 
electric main ; the conductors are carried on iron supports 50 meters apart. Insulators 
on wood cross-bars are used. The standards also carry the wire of a telephone circuit. 



Buffalo Distributing Station. Reaching Buffalo at 8,000 volts, the current is trans- 
formed to 12,800 amperes at 2,000 volts. A list of motors of 3 to 80 horse-power is 
given, having a commercial efficiency of 75 per cent, in the smaller to 90 per cent, in 
the larger sizes. The speed of the motor depends on the frequency of the alternations 
and is independent of the load. The smaller sizes require a lower potential and have 
special transformers. The larger sizes can take the current at 2,000 volts. The 
turbines shown in the drawings of this project are of a very satisfactory type, and the 
general arrangement of the hydraulic machinery is excellent. The extensive and suc- 
cessful experience of Messrs. Ganz & Co. with alternate current dynamos of high 
potential gives importance to their proposals for the distribution of the power, but 
details of the electrical part of their project are not fully described. 

IX. Project of Messrs. Escher, Wyss & Co., of Zurich, Switzerland. 

This is the hydraulic part only of a project for utilizing the power by turbines and 
distributing it electrically. 

The electrical part was to have been added by the Maschinenfabrik Oerlikon. Owing 
to unavoidable circumstances the electrical part could not be supplied in time, and 
only a sketch of the electrical arrangements which would have been proposed is given. 
It may be taken, however, that the hydraulic arrangements of Messrs. Escher, Wyss & 
Co. have been so arranged in consultation that they would have been perfectly suitable 
for driving such electrical machinery as the Oerlikon Company considered suitable for 
the Niagara project. Some details of compressed-air plant to be used as an adjunct are 
also given. 

Messrs. Escher, Wyss & Co. aim at selecting turbines of the highest efficiency, on the 
ground that so the cost of the machinery is diminished. This and the local condition 
requiring the turbines to be placed in pits lead to the choice of pressure turbines, which 
occupy small space, run at high speed, and can be constructed of large power. 

As to modes of distributing power, wire ropes and pressure water are dismissed as 
unsuitable — the latter chiefly on the ground of costliness. Compressed air, they think, 
offers greater advantages. For certain industries only compressed air would be suitable, 
and hence transmission in this way is studied for comparison with the electrical system. 
Electricity in their opinion is the most convenient means of distribution, best admitting 
of gradual extension. 

The following projects are given : 

Project A. A plant of 100 groups of air compressors above-ground, driven in 
pairs by turbines of 2,500 horse-power, with vertical axes and gearing. Speed of 
turbines, 250 revolutions per minute ; of air-compressors, 60 revolutions. 

Project P>. A plant of 25 turbines of 5,000 horse-power each, with vertical shafts 
coupled directly to dynamos placed above-ground. Speed, 300 revolutions per minute. 

Project C. A plant of 12 turbines, each of 10,000 horse-power, with horizontal 
shaft, each driving two dynamos placed underground. Speed, 240 revolutions per 

To reduce excavation the turbines are placed directly over the tail-race tunnel, 
in galleries transverse to the tunnel, leaving the rock solid between the series of supply 



shafts. Access is gained to this series of short transverse galleries by a gallery parallel 
to the tunnel, but on one side of it. 

In Projects A and B, vertical rock shafts or pits contain both the supply pipes and 
the turbine shafts. In Project C, the vertical rock shafts contain the supj)ly pipes of the 
turbines only. 

Turbines. All the turbines are axial-flow pressure turbines, with suction pipes. 
The water is conveyed to the turbines in iron supply pipes passing down vertical rock 
shafts. Sluices are arranged to cut off the water completely when necessary. 

The balancing of the weight and pressure on the turbines is effected in different ways. 

In the Air-Compressing Project A, a piston on which the water pressure acts sup- 
ports the turbine, gearing and vertical shaft. The space above the piston is in com- 
munication with the suction pipe. A throttle-valve on this connection permits the regu- 
lation of the supporting force of the piston. In Project B, double turbines are used, 
one discharging upwards, the other downwards. The upper turbine is larger than the 
lower one, so that the water pressure has an excess of upward pressure to balance the 
weight of the shaft and turbine. In Project C, the turbines have horizontal shafts, two 
equal turbines are fixed on the shaft, the pressure on one just balancing that on the 

It is not practicable to regulate turbines of the type here chosen by sluices in the 
guide passages. The plan adopted is this : A governor acts on the distributing valve 
of a small hydraulic motor. This actuates a cylindrical sluice on the suction pipes, 
or, in the case of some auxiliary turbines, a throttle-valve in the suppl} 7 pipe. The 
diminution of efficiency in this mode of regulation is of no importance at Niagara, where 
it is important to obtain the greatest useful effect only when working at full power. 

As to the general disposition of the central station, it needs only here to mention that 
a central vertical shaft is provided for access. Here would be placed lifts, water-pumps, 
ventilators, etc., driven by secondary or motor dynamos. To work these a special 
group of four 400 horse-power tui'bines and dynamos generators has been designed. 

X. Project of Messrs. J. J. Rieter & Co., of Winterthur, Switzerland. 

This consists of designs of three arrangements of pressure turbines. 
It contains, also, details of a telodynamic or wire-rope transmission. 

Project A. Group of four turbines, with vertical axes of 2,000 horse-power each, 
or a total of 8,000 horse-power. The turbines are pressure turbines, with suction pipes 
running at 180 revolutions per minute. The vertical load is supported partly by a 
pivot, partly by a piston or hydraulic support, placed above the turbine. 

At the top of the shaft is a collar-bearing and bevil-gearing driving wire rope 
pulleys. Each turbine is regulated by a relay governor acting on a throttle-valve. 

From the head-race, provided with sluices and strainers, a vertical unlined rock shaft 
conveys water to the group of four turbines. Two other shafts serve for access, and 
contain the transmission shafts of the turbines. 

Project B. Group of four pressure turbines, each of 2,500 horse-power, with 
horizontal axes and suction pipes. Speed, 250 revolutions per minute. The turbines 
are placed opposite in pairs, and collar-bearings take the axial thrust. A relay governor 
and throttle-valves are used for regulation. 



Project C. Group of two pressure turbines, of 5,000 horse-power each, running at 
190 revolutions per minute. Horizontal axes. The other arrangements as above. 

Cable Transmission. Messrs. Rieter & Co. have constructed most of the wire-rope 
transmissions which have been erected. Each cable transmits 333 horse-power, and 
the ordinary distance of the piers and pulleys is 330 feet. The loss in transmission is 
stated to be only 7 horse-power for each cable for each span. 

The cost of the turbines of group in Project A, with pipes, sluices, shafting, 
governors, etc., amounts to $14.16 per horse-power. The corresponding cost of the 
turbines, etc., in Project B amounts to $4.57 per horse-power. The cost of the turbines, 
etc., in Project C amounts to $4.42 per horse-power. 

Including the buildings and excavations, Messrs. Rieter estimate the cost of the 
turbines, etc., in Project A at $28.16; those of Project B at $9.06; and those in 
Project C at $8.09 per horse-power. 

The machinery for a central station, for cable transmission, arranged for 8,000 
horse-power, is estimated at $3.25 per horse-power. The transmitting cables and inter- 
mediate stations would cost $5.25 per horse-power for each distance of 110 yards. 
The machinery for a terminal or receiving station, arranged for 1,000 horse-power, 
would cost $4.11 per horse-power. 

XI. Project of M. Leon Vigreux, of Paris, and M. Leon Feray, of the firm of Feray 
& Co., of Essones. 

This is a project for the utilization of part of the power at Niagara by turbines, 
and its distribution to Cataract City by high-pressure water. The project proposes to 
deal with 50,000 horse-power, leaving the rest of the power to be distributed electrically. 

The following general arrangement is suggested : Six working groups and one reserve 
group, of 10,000 horse-power each, driving the electric generators. Two groups for 
exciting current, lighting the station and auxiliary purposes, one working and one in 
reserve, each of 10,000 horse-power. Five working groups and one reserve group, 
driving pressure pumps of the hydraulic system. All the machinery is placed under- 
ground in rock galleries. 

Turbines. The governing consideration is taken to be that the pumps must be 
driven without intermediate gearing. Hence, impulse partial-admission turbines of great 
diameter are chosen, having horizontal shafts, which are extended to form the crank 
shafts of the pumps. 

The authors examined the plan of driving the pressure pumps directly by pressure 
engines, acting with the water pressure due to the head, but found they would have 
to be of impracticably large dimensions. 

A large vertical rock shaft conveys water to a group of 10,000 horse-power. This 
terminates in an iron pipe which bifurcates below the floor of the pump chamber. There 
are two pairs of turbines, each pair consisting of two closely coupled wheels having the 
same shaft. The wheels are nearly 34 feet in external diameter. Each single wheel is 
2,500 horse-power ; each pair of turbines drives six double-acting pressure pumps, with 
an accumulator for each set of three pumps. The turbines and pumps run at 30 involu- 
tions per minute. The efficiency of the turbines is assumed at 70 per cent., but is ex- 
pected to be greater. An automatic arrangement connected with the accumulator acts 



on the turbine stop valve and regulates the stopping and starting of the pumps, ac- 
cording to the demand for power. 

Pressure Pumps. The working pressure at the pumps is 783 pounds per square 
inch. This will give about 710 pounds per square inch in the distributing mains. The 
authors reject Armstrong pumps, which have internal packings, in favor of Girard 
pumps, all the packings of which are in external stuffing-boxes. The efficiency of the 
pumps is assumed at 85 per cent. Diameter of plungers 17% inches, stroke 2 feet 
6 inches. For a group of 10,000 horse-power there are twelve pumps, discharging 
through two pipes 24 inches diameter. Hydraulic accumulators placed underground 
regulate the pressure and rate of discharge. 

The accumulators are differential accumulators ; the pressure of the fall acting on a 
large piston balances the pressure of the pumps on a small piston. The accumulator 
pistons are 1' 1%" and 4' 3" diameter, and have a stroke of 18 inches. There is one 
accumulator to each set of three pumps. A relief valve is placed on each discharge pipe, 
loaded by the pressure of the head. 

Underground Pumping Station. This is a gallery 604 feet long, 112 feet wide, 
divided by piers into three longitudinal bays. A ventilating shaft and suction fan, 
driven electrically, are provided. Traveling cranes, worked electrically, are provided 
in the galleries. 

Distribution of the Pressure Water. A pair of distributing mains 24 inches in 
diameter, from each set of 12 pumps, would together form a closed circuit to diminish 
interruption from an accident to the main. At important distributing centers accumu- 
lators would be established. Three types of partial-admission impulse turbines are 
described, which would be suitable as motors driven by the pressure water. 

The complete cost of machinery, excavation and buildings appears to be estimated 
at a little under £6 per horse-power at the turbine shafts, or about £7 10s. per horse- 
power distributed in Cataract City. This does not include any allowance for the cost 
of a proportion of the tail-race tunnel nor for motors to use the pressure water. 

When a large amount of power has to be distributed by water, even at the enormous 
pressure here proposed, the whole apparatus becomes extremely cumbrous. For the 
transmission of 50,000 horse-power, for instance, it appears that ten steel mains or 
delivery pipes would be required, each of two feet internal diameter. The arrangement 
adopted necessarily involves the placing of the pressure pumps underground, and they 
require a chamber of very large size. 

XII. Project of the Pelton Water Wheel Company, of San Francisco, California. 

These competitors assume that the head at Niagara is far too great for pressure 
turbines, and hence Pelton wheels of the type made by the Company are proposed. 

The water is taken to the wheels in vertical shafts, each supplying a group. Lateral 
tunnels convey the water to each wheel, and tail-races are cut from the wheels with a 
section of 48 square feet and a slope of 1 in 10 to the main discharge tunnel. 

The group shown consists of one 4,000 horse-power Pelton wheel driving service 
pumps, one 4,000 horse-power Pelton wheel driving high-pressure pumps, one 4,000 
horse-power Pelton wheel driving air compressors, and four 2,000 horse-power Pelton 
wheels driving dynamos; altogether, a group of 20,000 horse-power. 



Two vertical shafts in the rock serve for access and ventilation, and up these are 
carried vertical rods working the service pumps above-ground. All the rest of the 
machinery is in an underground gallery. 

The electric section consists of four Pelton wheels, 14 feet 6 inches in diameter, 
arranged in pairs and running at 60 revolutions per minute. Each wheel is supplied 
bv five nozzles. The stop valves on these nozzles are worked hydraulically. It is stated 
that the wheels will run with a variation of speed not exceeding 3 per cent. 

For the air-compressing arrangement, a Pelton wheel, 21 feet 6 inches diameter, is 
shown, running at 40 revolutions per minute. This is supplied by eight nozzles. The 
nozzles have stop valves worked by hydraulic pressure and controlled by hand or 
automatically by the air pressure. 

For the service pumps, two Pelton wheels are shown, each 21 feet 6 inches in diameter, 
running at 40 revolutions per minute. They have eight nozzles with stop valves. A 
crank on the shaft works vertical rods to an angle bob on the ground level, and from this 
pumps are worked horizontally. 

A relay governor is shown for actuating the stop valves of a set of nozzles successively 
in cases where regular speed is necessary. 

No machinery of distribution is shown, and the project does not go further than to 
indicate the applicability of Pelton wheels of great power to drive machinery of various 

The Company propose to guarantee an efficiency for their wheels of 80 per cent., and 
state that they expect to realize 85 per cent. 

The cost of the water-wheels, exclusive of excavation and erection and exclusive of 
pumps, compressors and dynamos, is given as $3.90 per horse-power. 

XIII. Project of Professor G. Forbes, of London. 

This is a project for the distribution of power electrically, the dynamos being placed 
in underground galleries, where they would be worked directly by turbines. The hy- 
draulic part of the arrangement is not dealt with. The project is accompanied by an 
extremely full and careful memoir, in which the conditions of economical distribution 
by electricity are discussed. There is also a very detailed estimate of the cost of distribu- 
tion by the plans proposed. 

Professor Forbes has come to the conclusion that the only practicable scheme for 
the transmission of power to Buffalo, and the best scheme for Cataract City, is to 
adopt alternating current generators and motors. He proposes to transmit to Buffalo 
at 10,000 volts and to Cataract City at 2,000 volts, but the same machines, without any 
alterations, are used in both cases and are perfectly interchangeable. For Buffalo the 
current is generated at 2,000 volts and the voltage is raised to 10,000 by converters. 
The current is carried by bare copper conductors on poles to five distributing stations 
in Buffalo, and the voltage reduced by converters to 2,000 volts. This current may be 
carried direct into the town for electric lighting or for supplying large motors. Some 
of these motors may be used to generate continuous currents at low tension for dis- 
tribution over short distances for light or power purposes. 

Cheap power could be supplied, according to Professor Forbes' estimate, at the 
five stations in Buffalo at a cost, so far as the electrical part of the work is concerned 
(that is exclusive of the cost of turbines at Niagara), of $23.30 per horse-power per 



annum. The power delivered would be 68 per cent, of the power given off at the turbine 
shafts at Niagara. Low tension continuous currents at a tension of 500 volts could be 
conveniently generated for working tramways. At Cataract City the efficiency of the 
electrical system would be 81 per cent., and the cost, excluding hydraulic works, $16.60 
per horse-power per annum. 

Professor Forbes insists on an essential difference in the conditions of supply to 
Cataract City and Buffalo. The distance from the Falls to Buffalo in a direct line is 
twentjr miles, and the route to be followed by a cable may be thirty miles. On the other 
hand, the distance from the Falls to the factories of Cataract City does not exceed 
two or three miles. The latter may be supplied with power electrically with such differ- 
ences of potential as have already been used in electric lighting. In the case of Buffalo, 
if only such pressure were used, the cost of the conductor, and consequently of the 
power, at Buffalo would be too great. At Cataract City 2,000 volts or less give an 
economic distribution. For Buffalo 10,000 volts must be used to obtain a similar 
result. Then again, Buffalo is a town already built, and the electric system must be 
adapted to it. Cataract City is still to be built, and can be planned to suit the require- 
ments of the electric distribution. 

For Buffalo, Professor Forbes proposes a distribution of power of three different 
characters: (1) Cheap power supplied at the outskirts of the town, by a current trans- 
mitted from Niagara at 10,000 volts; (2) power distributed through the town for 
large motors at 2,000 volts, the cost of which will be somewhat greater; (3) electricity 
distributed at low pressure throughout the town for small workshops, and for inde- 
pendent motors to separate machines. Probably $50 per horse-power per annum 
might be charged for the first kind of supply; somewhat more for the second, and at 
least $100 for the third, and these prices would yield an ample profit. 

Current Density in Conductors. The primary problem of design is to determine 
the size of the conductor. According to a law first stated by Sir William Thomson, the 
most economical distribution will be achieved if the annual interest on the value of the 
copper conductor is equal to the annual value of the energy used up by the resistance 
of the conductor. If the conditions are in any way arbitrarily restricted, this equality 
does not necessarily hold good. But the principle of Sir William Thomson's law is that 
which must be used in determining the best size of conductor. In the present case 
the most convenient statement of the condition of greatest economy is this : The density 
of current should be such that the cost per horse-power per annum of power delivered 
in Buffalo is less than with either a slightly greater or a slightly less density of current. 
To apply this law an estimate must be formed of the cost of producing power at Niagara. 
The cost of the tail-race tunnel is given, and it amounts to $4,000,000. Professor Forbes 
does not enter into the hydraulic part of the project, and the cost of the hydraulic 
machines can, therefore, only be very roughly estimated. Still, as the estimate is onky 
wanted to determine the character of the electrical appliances and the size of conductor, 
it is probable that if an error of estimate is committed it will not seriously alter the 
conclusions arrived at. The rough estimate taken as a basis of the following calculations 
is that the cost of the tunnel, head-race, sluices, shafts, water motors, dynamos and 
buildings, at the generating station at Niagara, will be $12,000,000 for 120,000 horse- 
power. Allowing for depreciation, interest and working expenses, the annual cost per 



horse-power, delivered at the terminals of the generating dynamos in Niagara, would 
be $12.50. 

Professor Forbes then assumes different densities of current in the conductor and 
different differences of potential at Niagara. Calculation gives the loss of energy in the 
conductor to Buffalo, and consequently the amount of energy delivered. The cost of 
the motors for this power and of the conductor can be ascertained. Consequently the 
cost per horse-power of the energy delivered in Buffalo can be estimated for the assumed 
density and voltage. 

For a potential of 2,000 volts in the most favorable case the cost at Buffalo of a 
horse-power is found to be about $60 per annum. 

This Professor Forbes holds to be inadmissible, for he thinks it may be assumed that 
if the power is not obtained at a net cost of about $25 per horse-power per annum the 
scheme would not be a financial success. By increasing the pressure to 10,000 volts the 
cost per horse-power per annum, in the most favorable case, comes to about $26, which 
is practicable. At Cataract City 2,000 volts is sufficient to give an economical distribu- 
tion, the cost being estimated at $23.60 per horse-power per annum. 

The general result of the calculations is the adoption for Buffalo of a current density 
of 500 amperes per square inch, and an electric pressure of 10,000 volts. For Cataract 
City a current density of 500 amperes per square inch, and an electric pressure of 
2,000 volts. If a lower pressure is considered desirable, then 1,000 volts for Cataract 
City will give nearly as great an economy. 

Types of Dynamos and Motors. Continuous and alternating current machines both 
work well as motors, and the efficiency of the best of each type is about the same. 

All continuous-current motors in practical use are continuous-current generators 
pure and simple. They are convenient for use in the workshop. As soon as the current 
is applied the motor works, even though the full load be on, and if the motor is over- 
loaded the rotation is still maintained. 

Alternate current motors may be divided into synchronizing and non-synchronizing 
motors. The former are alternate current generators pure and simple. The latter form 
a special class, depending for their action on principles discovered by Tesla and Ferraris. 

Synchronizing motors require to be started by some independent motor. Mr. Mordey 
uses a small independent continuous-current dynamo, which ordinarily is driven by 
the alternate-current motor, and at the same time excites its field magnates. Part of 
this current is used to charge a set of accumulator cells. When the alternator is to be 
started, a current from the accumulator drives the exciting dynamo as a motor, and this 
puts the alternator into motion. Such an arrangement is quite suitable for a sub-station, 
but is not so suitable for a factory where machinery may have to be started and stopped 
frequently. The synchronizing motor has the further defect that if it be overloaded it 
gets out of synchronism and stops. Mr. Mordey's alternator, however, will stand con- 
siderable overloading without getting out of step and stopping. On the other hand, 
alternating motors have the advantage that whatever the load may be the speed remains 

The only non-synchronizing motor which has been constructed in a practical form 
is the Tesla motor, which Professor Forbes has experimented on at Pittsburgh at the 
works of the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company. Motors of this class 
have not been made of any large size. 



For Cataract City, where electricity can be distributed economically at 2,000 volts, 
either continuous-current or alternating-current motors could be used. The alternator 
has the advantages of constant speed and the absence of a commutator. On the other 
hand, it cannot be started and stopped with facility. The Tesla motor has the advantage 
that it has no brushes or rubbing contact, but cannot at present be recommended except 
for small powers. For convenience Professor Forbes gives the preference to the syn- 
chronizing alternator. As to economy, a question as to the size of machine arises. The 
largest sizes of either continuous or alternating-current machines hitherto extensively 
used are those of about 500 or 600 horse-power. The design of continuous-current 
machines is so simple that there is no reasonable doubt that larger machines could be 
constructed, and for machines of 2,500 horse-power the cost would probably not exceed 
$10 per horse-power. No quite satisfactory design of an alternator of large power has 
yet, in Professor Forbes' opinion, been produced, and hence he recommends machines 
of about 500 horse-power, costing $19 per horse-power. In deciding between large 
continuous-current and smaller alternating-current machines, it appears that the only 
satisfactory solution of the problem of transmission to Buffalo is by alternating currents. 
No continuous-current machine can be made to work efficiently and continuously at 
10,000 volts. Nor do continuous currents permit the use of converters. It is very 
desirable, in Professor Forbes' opinion, that the same type of machine should be used 
both for Cataract City and Buffalo. Hence, in spite of extra cost, he gives the preference 
to the use of alternating generators and synchronizing motors both for Cataract City 
and Buffalo. 

Professor Forbes thinks that alternating machines could be constructed to give 
directly 10,000 volts. On the whole, however, he recommends producing the current at 
2,000 volts and transforming to 10,000 volts. At Buffalo the current would again be 
reduced by transformers to 2,000 volts. 

Conductors for Transmission. Telegraph poles and well insulated cables are pro- 
posed for Cataract City. The case of transmission to Buffalo is very different. (1) To 
diminish lag of the current, dynamo machines of small self-induction must be used. 
(2) An alternating current is confined more or less to the exterior of the conductor. 
The thickness of the conductors must therefore be small. (3) Static induction diminishes 
the potential at the far end, hence the cables should have small capacity. (4) To avoid 
absorption of electricity in the dielectric, it is preferable to insulate the conductors by 
air. (5) To prevent inductive reaction between conductors carrying currents in different 
phases the generators should all work in parallel on the same conductors. (6) Dis- 
turbance of telegraphic and telephonic wires may be diminished by perfect insulation 
and placing the positive and negative wires close together. 

Bare copper conductors are proposed in the form of stranded cable. These are sup- 
ported on porcelain insulators with oil cups (three in number for each insulator) ; the 
conductors are carried on poles, separate poles being used for positive and negative 
wires. Four sets of poles are proposed, so that when the load is light two may be put 
out of use for repairs. 

Distribution of the Current. In Cataract City all the motors would be put in 
parallel on the mains. In Buffalo the electric pressure would be transformed down to 
2,000 volts. Part of the current would be utilized by synchronizing motors for develop- 
ing power. Part would be transmitted by underground insulated cables to factories, or 



to subsidiary stations from which it was desired to distribute a continuous low tension 
current. A synchronizing motor would in that case be used to drive a continuous-current 


Estimates are given of the cost of the electric-generating machinery, transformers, 
conductors and motors, and of the excavation and buildings required for placing them. 
Taking 5 per cent, interest on capital, 10 per cent, depreciation for machinery, and 2*/£> 
per cent, on all other works, the following estimates of cost are arrived at, for delivering 
a horse-power in the form of mechanical energy. (The cost of motors, and the loss in 
them, is included.) The horse-power delivered is taken to be 81 per cent, of 70,000 
horse-power at Cataract City, and 68 per cent, of 50,000 horse-power at Buffalo. 

No. I. No. II. No. III. 

Buffalo, Cataract City, Cataract City, 

Alt. Currents. Alt. Currents. Con. Currents. 

Interest $298,114 $330,379 $330,597 

Maintenance and Depreciation 420,062 507,321 515,677 

Working Expenses 75,000 102,200 102,200 

Total Annual Charge $793,176 $939,900 $948,474 

No. of Horse-power Delivered 34,000 56,700 56,700 

Cost, per Horse-power, per annum .... $23.30 $16.60 $16.70 

The Commission were not convinced that the reasons given by Professor Forbes for 
an alternating-current system, in preference to a continuous-current system, were suffi- 
cient to establish his case. 

XIV. Project of the Norwalk Iron Works Company, of South Norwalk, Connecti- 
cut, U. S. A. 

This is a project for a group of air-compressors of 10,000 horse-power, driven by 
Pelton water-wheels. The compressors are vertical cylinder compound compressors, 
and are placed in underground chambers ; indeed, with the form of water-wheel adopted 
an overground position is almost impossible. 

Compressors. The cylinders of the compressors are 66 inches and 39 inches diam- 
eter, the stroke is 66 inches and the speed 55 revolutions per minute. Four such machines 
require to be driven by water-wheels of 10,000 horse-power when furnishing air at 147 
pounds per square inch (above atmosphere). The horizontal shafts of the Pelton wheels 
form the crank shafts of the air-compressors. 

The chief peculiarity of the compressors is the use of Corliss intake and delivery 
valves. There is a water circulation in jackets round the cylinders and cylinder covers. 
The air is to be subjected to a water spray before being compressed, so as to saturate it 
with moisture. But spray is not used in the cylinders. An intercooler is used between 
the low pressure and high pressure cylinders of the compressor. 

A ten-foot service shaft leads to each compressor chamber. 

The Air Main. A series of calculations are given of the cost of a horse-power in 
Buffalo, with different sizes of main and different initial and terminal air pressures. As a 
result a main of 40 inches diameter is chosen, working with 147 pounds (above atmos- 
phere) at the compressors and about 80 pounds per square inch in Buffalo. The general 



arrangement for a station having five groups of compressors working altogether at 
50,000 horse-power, reckoned on the water-wheel shafts, is this: The delivery pipes from 
the compressors are connected at the surface to two parallel 40-inch mains of about ll/> 
miles in length. These two mains then join into a single 40-inch main for conveying 
the air to Buffalo. It is assumed that all moisture will be deposited in the first 11/2 miles 
of main. If in winter obstruction arises from ice, one of the parallel mains can be dis- 
continued for clearing. The mains are laid on the surface of the ground, with expansion 
joints every 500 feet. 

The Water-Wheels. The Pelton water-wheels are 15 feet 8 inches diameter, and 
each develops 5,000 horse-power at 55 revolutions. The stop valves of the nozzles are 
controlled by a differential valve actuated by compressed air, and also by a speed 
governor. A one-inch pipe led back from Buffalo supplies the air pressure controlling 
the stop valves. The Norwalk Company think that variations in demand in Buffalo 
would thus be rapidly met before the general pressure in the air main has altered. 

The cost of installation for one horse-power delivered to a consumer in Buffalo is 
estimated at $171.47. This includes excavation, turbines, compressors, delivery pipes, 
and a pro rata part of cost of tail-race tunnel. 

An alternative plan is suggested in which air is compressed to 34 pounds per square 
inch for distribution to Cataract City. Part of this air is further compressed to supply 
Buffalo at a delivery pressure of 80 pounds. 



The preceding part of this Report contains abstracts of the documents accompanying 
those projects which were judged to comply with the terms of the letter of invitation to 
compete issued by the Cataract Company. An endeavor has been made to render these 
abstracts as complete and intelligible as was possible without the aid of drawings. It 
should be recollected that in this part of the Report the opinions and statements are 
those of the competitors, and it must not be assumed that in all cases the Commissioners 
agreed to them. Where, on special points, the Commission expressed an opinion, that 
has been explicitly stated. 

The result of the examination of these projects by the Commission was the award 
of the following prizes and premiums. 

combined projects for hydraulic development and distribution of power. 
1st Prize of ,£600. Not awarded. 

2nd Prize of £500. 
Messrs. Faesch & Piccard, Geneva, and Messrs. Cuenod, Sautter & Co., Geneva. 

3rd Prize of £200. 

M. Hillairet and M. Bouvier, Paris. 

M. Victor Popp, Paris, and Professor Riedler, Berlin. 

Professor L. Vigreux and M. Leon Lev}', Paris. 

The Pelton Water Wheel Co., San Francisco, Cal., and the Norwalk Iron Works Co., 
South Norwalk, Conn. 

projects for hydraulic development. 

1st Prize of £200. 
Messrs. Escher, Wyss & Co., Zurich. 

2nd Prizes of £150. 

Messrs. Ganz & Co., Budapest. 

Professor A. Lupton, Leeds, and Mr. J. Sturgeon. 

Projects for distribution. 
No prize awarded. 

No first prize was awarded for a Combined Project for Hydraulic Development and 
Distribution of the Power. There was no project which, in the opinion of the Commis- 
sion, could be recommended for adoption without considerable modification. On the 
other hand, with the consent of the Cataract Company, some third prizes were given 
which were not offered in the letter of invitation. 

The following are the premiums awarded to all the competitors who, in the opinion 
of the Commission, complied with the terms of the letter of invitation. 




A. For Combined Projects. Premiums of £200. 

1. Messrs. Cuenod, Sautter & Co. and Messrs. Faesch & Piccard. 

2. Professor Vigreux and M. Levy. 

3. M. Hillairet and M. Bouvier. 

4. Professor Riedler and M. Popp. 

5. Mr. G. F. Deacon and Messrs. Siemens Brothers. 

6. Mr. H. D. Pearsall. 

7. Professor Lupton and Mr. Sturgeon. 

8. Messrs. Ganz & Co. 

B. For Hydraulic Projects for Developing the Power. Premiums of ,£100. 

1. Messrs. Escher, Wyss & Co. 

2. Messrs. J. J. Rieter & Co. 

3. Professor Vigreux and M. Feray. 

4. The Pelton Water Wheel Company. 

C. For Projects for Distributing Power. Premiums of £100. 

1. Professor G. Forbes. 

2. The Norwalk Iron Works Company. 

Reviewing the whole of the projects, there were two or three points of primary 
importance as to which the Commission came to a definite expression of opinion. 

In the first place, they were opposed to the plan of placing heavy and important 
machinery, requiring constant care and supervision, in underground galleries. There 
appeared to be no real difficulty or serious additional expense in the adoption of turbines 
with vertical shafts supported by fluid pressure. They therefore preferred those 
arrangements in which the dynamos or air compressors were placed above-ground. 

In the next place, the general opinion of the Commission was in favor of the adoption 
of electrical methods as the chief means of distributing the power, though perhaps not 
as the only means. In the selection of electrical methods they were not convinced of the 
advisability of departing from the older and better understood methods of continuous 
currents in favor of the adoption of methods of alternating currents. 

On a third point the Commission came to a conclusion which differed from the 
view taken by any of the competitors.* They considered that it would be necessary to 
have a tunnel or subway in which to place the main electrical distributing conductors. 
In such a subway the conductors could be of bare copper placed on insulators ; if the 
conductors were so placed in a subway, the greatest facility would be afforded for 
erection, for repairs, for inspection and for cleansing; and there would be the greatest 

* M. Hillairet came nearest to proposing such a system of accessible subways as the Commission 



security from accident due to lightning, to rain or snow, or to private or public wanton 
mischief. These considerations appeared to the Commissioners to be so important that 
they would justify the excess of cost involved in the construction of the subways, which, 
however, would probably not be great. 


Secretary to the Commission. 

London, April 13, 1891. 









Niagara Falls, March 31, 1893. — It is just forty-five years ago today that the great 
Niagara River went dry. It was the only time in history that this extraordinary freak 
of nature was ever known to take place. 

Man}^ have questioned the occurrence and some have denied that such a thing could be, 
but on the morning of March 31, 1848, the waters receded and the bed of the river above 
the Falls was exposed to view. The best witness of this event is Bishop Fuller of Hamil- 
ton, Ontario. In an interview with The New York Times's correspondent he said: 

"I did not see the occurrence myself, but I was told of it the next day by my brother- 
in-law, Thomas C. Street, M. P., who had a grist mill on the rapids above the Falls. He 
said that his miller knocked at his bedroom door about 5 o'clock in the morning and told 
him to get up quickly, as there was no water in the mill race and no water in the great 
river outside the mill race. He said that he was startled at the intelligence and hurried 
out as soon as he could dress himself. There before him he saw the river channel, on 
whose banks he had been born thirty-four years previous, almost entirely dry. 

"After a hurried breakfast Mr. Street and his youngest daughter went down about 
three-quarters of a mile to the precipice itself, over which there was so little water run- 
ning that, having provided himself with a strong pole, they started from Table Rock 
and walked near the edge of the precipice about one-third of the way toward Goat Island, 
on the American shore. Sticking her father's pole in a crevice of the rock, Miss Street 
tied her pocket handkerchief firmly on top of the pole. Mr. Street said that he turned 
his view toward the river below the Falls and saw the water so shallow that immense 
jagged rocks stood up in such a frightful and picturesque manner that he shuddered 
when he thought of his having frequently passed over them in the little Maid of the Mist. 

"He then returned home and drove from the Canada shore about a half mile above the 
Falls, opposite Goat Island, and then drove out into the river bed. When he told me this 
he reproached himself very much for not having sent for me. I was about eight miles 
distant, but he said that, although he had several times thought of doing so, he each time 
concluded not to do it lest before we could reach the wonderful scene the waters would 
again come rushing down the river bed. Of course every one was speaking of the 
wonderful event when I was out there the next day, and I have heard others who witnessed 
it speak of it since that time. 

"Mr. Street's theory to account for the recession of waters was this : That the winds 
had been blowing down Lake Erie, which is only about eighty feet deep, and had been 
rushing a great deal of the water from it over the Falls. Then suddenly changing, the 
wind blew this little water (comparatively speaking) up to the western portion of 
the lake. At this juncture the ice on Lake Erie, which had been broken up by these high 
winds, got jammed in the river between Buffalo and the Canada side, and formed a dam 
which kept back the waters of Lake Erie a whole day. 



"I wrote to L. F. Allen of Buffalo, a well-known gentleman of that city, in 1880, 
giving Mr. Street's statement and asking him if he recollected anything about the occur- 
rence. His reply was as follow : 

" 'Your favor of the 9th inst. received. The fact relating to the low water mentioned 
by Mr. Street as having occurred at Niagara Falls I well recollect, although I have no 
precise data as to the month or year in which it occurred. It was so remarkable as to be 
noticed in Buffalo newspapers. Nor do I recollect whether the subsidence of the river 
waters was caused by a dam of ice at the outlet of Lake Erie or by a strong east wind 
which sometimes, by blowing the water up the lake, makes very low water in the river 
for many hours. 

" 'I knew Mr. Street personally very well and should have entire credence in any 
statement he should make of his own knowledge. That Mr. Street could have driven his 
horse for several hundred feet into the bare bed of the river on the Canada side I have 
no doubt. I have lived in Buffalo fifty-three years and have witnessed so many fluctu- 
ations in the levels of the lake and river that I have perfect confidence in the late 
Mr. Street's account of the fact you named. He was a gentleman of such accurate state- 
ments that no one knowing him could doubt any one he should seriously make. 

" 'I am also enabled to give you copies of two declarations which were furnished me, 
one from an aged gentleman — Harry Bond of Chippawa — and the other from a leading 
gentleman in the place, a Justice of Peace and a notary public and a person doing an 
extensive business as a tanner.' 

"Mr. Bond's declaration is as follows: 

"'County of Welland — To wit: I, Henry Bond, of the village of Chippawa, in the 
County of Welland, do solemnly declare that I remember the occurrence of there having 
been a day during which so little water was running in the Niagara River that but a 
small stream was flowing over the Falls of Niagara on that da} 7 . 

" 'It happened on or about the 31st of March, 1848, A. D., and I remember riding on 
horseback from below the flouring mills and cloth factory of the late Thomas C. Street, 
Esq., out into the bed of the river and so on down outside Cedar Island to Table Rock ; 
further up the Niagara River at the village of Chippawa, where the Welland River 
empties into the Niagara that there was so little water running that the Welland River 
was nearly dry, only a little stream running in the centre. I recollect a number of old gun 
barrels having been found in the bed of the Welland River at the junction with the 
Niagara River, supposed to have been thrown into the river during the war of 1812.' 

"The second declaration is as follows : 

" 'County of Welland — To wit : I, James Francis Macklem, of the village of Chippawa 
and County of Welland, Province of Ontario, notary public and Justice of the Peace, do 
solemnly declare that about the 31st day of March, A. D. 1848, the waters of the 
Niagara River were so low that comparatively but little water flowed over the Falls for 
a whole day. I well remember a flag which was fixed upon a short staff and planted far 
out from Table Rock, and very near the brink of the precipice, which appeared to be 
over one-third of the way across the river between Table Rock and Goat Island. 

" 'This flag was placed there by the late Thomas C. Street, he having walked out to 
that spot from the Table Rock upon the bed of the river, where the waters had previously 



rushed down in great force. The phenomenon of the Falls of Niagara running dry, as 
was the term used in speaking of the occurrence, caused great excitement in the neighbor- 
hood at the time.' 

"Thus it will be seen that the occurrence is clearly proved. There are many stories 
afloat in regard to the general astonishment and fear. Even the Indians, then around 
here, shared in the superstition that something terrible was about to happen, and this 
remarkable freak of the great river was a warning to desist from wickedness." 




In memory of its late president naming the great steam- 
power station The Charles R. Huntley Station. 

Authorizing the erection of a memorial bronze tablet in the 
turbine room of the great plant. 


The Board of Directors of this Company is desirous of perpetuating the memory of 
Charles R. Huntley, late president of the Company and its directing head from the time 
of its organization. One of the outstanding achievements of Mr. Huntley's administration 
was the erection of the steam generating station located on the River Road in the Town 
of Tonawanda, now known as the River Station ; therefore, 

RESOLVED, that the River Station be designated for all time as the "Charles R. 
Huntley Station" as a perpetual memorial to Charles R. Huntley, in recognition and 
appreciation of his long and devoted service to this Company and of his vision and 
courage in planning and constructing this station during the early days of the World 
War to meet the immediate war-time needs of industry and to assure for the future the 
adequacy and continuity of the service of this Company. 

RESOLVED, that a suitable tablet with appropriate memorial inscription be placed 
in the turbine room of the station and such other insignia be placed on the station as the 
Committee hereinafter appointed shall deem proper so as to perpetually dedicate the 
station to the memory of Charles R. Huntley. 


Asst. Secretary 

December 10, 1926 


Date Due 

PRK NO^ 2 01972 



YORK APR 9197: 

gn u JULA TBW 

yO R K M AY 3 1 

FORM 109